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Earnings Preview: Starbucks to report 4Q

NEW YORK (AP) -- Starbucks reports its fiscal fourth-quarter results after the market closes Wednesday, which should give more insight into how the company has kept sales rising.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: In the previous quarter, the Seattle-based company said a key sales measure rose 8 percent globally and 9 percent in the U.S.

Executives said in late July that they expected the sales metric at cafes open at least 13 months to return to 5 to 7 percent global growth in the July-September quarter, the same range as in the first half of the fiscal year.

WHY IT MATTERS: Starbucks has increased sales despite the weak economic climate cited by other food and drink companies for their underwhelming results. It has raised prices, revamped its food options and introduced items such as its pricey Evolution bottled juices.

It's also expanding into new areas. Starbucks recently bought a chain of about 300 tea stores called Teavana. The stores are based in malls and mostly sell boxed and packaged teas, but CEO Howard Schultz has said he plans to use Teavana to make tea as popular as Starbucks has made coffee.

WHAT'S EXPECTED: Analysts on average expect 59 cents per share on revenue of $3.81 billion, according to FactSet.

LAST YEAR'S QUARTER: Starbucks Corp. earned 46 cents per share on revenue $3.36 billion.