US coffee shop chain Starbucks has reported a 49% rise in fourth-quarter net earnings, capping what has been an 'amazing' year for the company.

The company reported net earnings of US$103m, or 25 cents per share, for the fourth quarter to 3 October, compared to $70m, or 17 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Consolidated net revenues for the 14-week fourth quarter increased 34% to $1.5bn from $1.1bn for the corresponding 13-week period of fiscal 2003. Net revenues increased 25% when calculated on a comparative 13-week basis for both fiscal 2004 and 2003.

For the full year, net earnings increased 46% to $392m, or 95 cents per share, compared to $268m, or 67 cents per share, for fiscal 2003. Consolidated net revenues increased 30% to $5.3bn from $4.1bn for fiscal 2003. Net revenues increased 27% when calculated on a comparative 52-week basis for both fiscal 2004 and 2003.

"Fiscal 2004 has been an amazing year of outstanding performance throughout our business," said chairman Howard Schultz. "Our aggressive global store expansion, innovation ranging from food and beverage to music and execution of new and expanded agreements for licensing, grocery and foodservice all contributed to our results. We look forward to building on this momentum in fiscal 2005."

The company's current fiscal 2005 targets include the opening of 1,500 new stores on a global basis, including 550 company-operated outlets and 525 licensed outlets in the US, and 100 company-operated outlets and 325 licensed outlets in international markets.

Starbucks is targeting total net revenue growth of approximately 20% for fiscal 2005, excluding the impact of the 53rd week in fiscal 2004.