US coffee shop chain Starbucks has reported a 31% increase in net earnings for the first quarter and raised its earnings guidance for the full year.

The company reported net earnings of US$145m, or 35 cents per share, for the 13 weeks to 2 January, compared to $110m, or 27 cents per share, for the corresponding period of the previous year. Consolidated net revenues increased 24% to $1.6bn from $1.3bn for the same period a year earlier.

“Starbucks’ first quarter was built around our holiday promotion, which included our popular seasonal beverages, strong customer response to Starbucks Christmas Blend, and relevant gift options ranging from Starbucks Cards to Starbucks Hear Music offerings,” said Jim Donald, CEO designate.

Starbucks said it expects to open approximately 1,500 new stores on a global basis in fiscal 2005. In the US, Starbucks plans to open approximately 550 company-operated locations and 525 licensed locations. In international markets, the company plans to open approximately 100 company-operated stores and 325 licensed stores.

Based on its strong first quarter earnings and updated business forecast for the remainder of the year, Starbucks raised its earnings per share target range to between $1.15 and $1.17 for fiscal 2005, compared to its original target range of $1.12 to $1.15.