Starbucks expects hit from coronavirus after closing half of China stores

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A waitress prepares a beverage at a branch of Starbucks coffee in Tokyo© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A waitress prepares a beverage at a branch of Starbucks coffee in Tokyo

(Reuters) – Starbucks Corp (O:) on Tuesday became the first major U.S. company to signal a hit from the new coronavirus outbreak in China, as it closed more than half of its stores in China and adjusted its operating hours.

The world’s largest coffee chain said it would update its 2020 forecast when it is able to reasonably estimate the impact of the outbreak, which has caused over 100 deaths in China.

Starbucks operated 4,292 stores in China at the end of last year.

Sales at restaurants open for at least 13 months rose 5% in the first quarter ended Dec. 29. Analysts had forecast same-store sales growth of 4.4%, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Total net revenue rose 7% to $7.1 billion, largely in line with analysts’ average estimate of $7.11 billion.

Net earnings attributable to the company rose to $885.7 million, or 74 cents per share, from $760.6 million, or 61 cents per share, a year earlier.

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