CHICAGO — Starbucks Corp. says people spent more money in its stores during its fiscal first quarter, and its profit more than tripled.

The world's largest coffee chain says it earned $241.5 million, or 32 cents per share, for the three months that ended in late December. A year earlier, it earned $64.3 million, or 9 cents per share.

Starbucks' sales rose 4 percent to $2.72 billion.

Analysts expected the Seattle company to earn 28 cents per share on revenue of $2.65 billion.

The chain said its sales in stores open at least a year, considered a key restaurant measure, rose 4 percent for the quarter after two years of declines. (AP)