US coffee retailer Starbucks has posted a 21% rise in fourth-quarter profit, helped by strong sales.

The Seattle-based company reported profit of US$69.6m, or 17 cents a share, for the July to September quarter, compared to $57.7m a year earlier. The result met analysts' forecasts.

The company said consolidated net revenue rose 25% to $1.1bn.

Starbucks backed its full-year 2004 forecasts for earnings of 83-85 cents a share, and sales growth of 20%. The company plans to open 1,300 new stores during the year, expanding its chain to more than 8,500 outlets.