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By Lisa Baertlein
(Reuters) - Starbucks Corp <SBUX.O> on Thursday posted a bigger than expected jump in quarterly profit after new "Refresher" fruit beverages and seasonal Frappuccino iced drinks helped drive more visits to its shops in the United States, its top market.
The world's biggest coffee chain also raised its full-year profit forecast, sending shares soaring almost 6 percent in after-hours trade.
Seattle-based Starbucks is a top destination for consumers with ample cash to spend on $3 to $5 lattes and other premium coffee drinks. As a result, it has withstood the economic weakness crimping fast-food chains and other operators better than some other companies.
McDonald's Corp <MCD.N> and Panera Bread Co <PNRA.O> were among the chains hit by the summer swoon.
Starbucks' net earnings for the fiscal third quarter that ended on June 30 increased more than 25 percent to $417.8 million, or 55 cents per share, to beat analysts' average forecast by 2 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Global sales at Starbucks cafes open at least 13 months jumped 8 percent, versus the 5.8 percent average increase analysts' expected, according to Consensus Metrix.
In the U.S.-dominated Americas region, which contributes about three-quarters of Starbucks' revenue, same-store sales were up 9 percent, far better than analysts' average estimate for a 6.1 percent rise.
Same-store sales also increased 9 percent for China and Asia Pacific and 2 percent for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, an area that has struggled to grow.
Based on results from the latest quarter, Starbucks boosted its full-year forecast to $2.22 to $2.23 per share from a previous range of $2.12 to $2.18 per share.
Starbucks shares were up 5.9 percent at $72.19 in extended trading late on Thursday.
(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; editing by Matthew Lewis)