"A lot of people were trading down it appears," said Troy Alstead, the company's chief financial officer, noting that fewer purchases included food.
Starbucks also has been embroiled in a controversy over its taxes in the United Kingdom. The company has been doing business in Britain for 15 years but hadn't paid any taxes because of a complex way it calculates profits. Following criticism by lawmakers and a campaign by a protest group, Starbucks said last month that it was working to settle the issue.
For October-to-December period, Starbucks Corp. earned $432.2 million, or 57 cents per share. That's compared with $382.1 million, or 50 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Total revenue rose 11 percent to $3.8 billion. Analysts expected a profit of 57 cents per share on revenue of $3.85 billion, according to FactSet.
Revenue for the consumer packaged goods segment, which includes Verismos sold in specialty stores, rose 16 percent to $459.8 million. Although Starbucks is working to diversify by building this segment, it still represents a small fraction of the company's overall revenue.
Starbucks affirmed its outlook for the year, with earnings expected to be between $2.096 and $2.15 per share, representing growth of 15 to 20 percent from the previous year.
Its stock was up 24 cents at $54.81. Starbucks has about 18,000 cafes around the world.