Starbucks group profit triples

Starbucks is back on its feet after a harrowing two years. The group recorded earnings of $241.5mn i

Its sales in the UK jumped 3.9 per cent in 4Q of 2009, with the sharpest increase seen in December at 6 per cent due to a strong holiday season.

Howard Schultz, chief executive and chairman of the Seattle-based coffee giant, said the company has now put the worst behind it to deliver a record quarter. He also admitted that the recovery of the UK economy was stronger than he had expected earlier.

Last February, Mr Shultz's comments about the UK economy being "in a spiral" had drawn the ire of Business Secretary Lord Mandelson, who famously shot back: "Why should I have that guy running down the country? Who the fuck is he?"

All that seems to be in the past now, with the Starbucks sales figures in the UK again on the upswing. Over two million Britons now visit 661 Starbucks stores across the country every week.

Shares of Starbucks rose on Thursday to reach their highest level in the last year after the group reported a tripling of its third-quarter profits and raised its yearly outlook.