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Starbucks reports record annual profit

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Starbucks may be complaining of “global headwinds” but that did not stop the world’s biggest coffee chain from reporting record annual profits.

It made an operating income of almost $4.2bn (£3.4bn) for the year to 2 October, up 16% on the previous year.

That was mainly down to a strong showing for its biggest market, the Americas, where net sales rose 11%.

However, in the fourth quarter of its financial year, global sales at existing stores rose by only 4%.

That was lower than the 4.9% rise analysts had expected.

The fastest growth was in the China and Asia Pacific region, which recorded growth of 23% for the year.

Starbucks boss Howard Schultz said its Chinese stores were the most efficient and lucrative.

While Starbucks still makes most of its profit in the US, Mr Schultz has said expansion in China will secure its future for “decades to come”.

Last month, Starbucks announced plans to more than double its stores in China to 5,000 by 2021.

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Mr Schultz is betting on China’s coffee thirst for future growth

Mr Schultz said the company was facing “ongoing economic, consumer and geopolitical headwinds”.

Mr Schultz, who has been warning of a “seismic shift in consumer traffic” for years, said the popularity of online shopping was keeping people at home and away from main shopping streets or malls.

In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, sales dropped by 1% during the fourth quarter, while in China and Asia Pacific, sales were up by 1%.

Starbucks operates 25,085 stores in 75 countries worldwide, with 690 new ones having opened in the last quarter.