Starbucks loses steam as traffic takes rare dip in 4th Q

SEATTLE The froth is off at Starbucks Corp., as the largest coffeehouse operator reported for its September-ended fourth quarter its first decline in domestic transaction counts since it started reporting that figure and its worst U.S. margin performance in at least two years.

While reporting a 35-percent jump in its fourth quarter profit, Starbucks was forced to reduce its fiscal 2008 per-share earnings outlook and its same-store sales expectations because of

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