Pacific Business:

Starbucks Corp. reports March sales up 10 percent from last year, but much of the improvement.
was the conversion of Hawaii franchises to owned locations.

Analysts predicted an increase of 6 percent to 9 percent and the company itself stuck to its forecast of an annual increase of 3 percent to 7 percent, but shares of Starbucks stock (Nasdaq: SBUX) still rose more than 2 percent in electronic trading Thursday night.

For the five weeks ended April 2 the company logged a 24 percent increase in revenue to $743 million. A year ago it was less than $600 million.

Honolulu-based Coffee Partners LLC, the original Hawaii Starbucks franchisee, recently sold its 67 Hawaii and Puerto Rico stores to the parent company in Seattle. Starbucks has 8,000 stores in the United States, of which more than 5,000 are owned-and-operated, and 11,000 stores worldwide, about half of them owned.