TIME Business

Dollar Tree Buying Family Dollar for $8.5 billion

A Dollar Tree store in Westminster, Colo., on Feb. 26, 2014.
A Dollar Tree store in Westminster, Colo., on Feb. 26, 2014. Rick Wilking—Reuters

(NEW YORK) — Dollar Tree is buying rival discount store Family Dollar in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about $8.5 billion.

Stockholders of Family Dollar Stores will receive $59.60 in cash and the equivalent of $14.90 in shares of Dollar Tree for each share they own. The companies put the value of the transaction at $74.50 per share, which is an approximately 23 percent premium to Family Dollar’s Friday closing price of $60.66.

Family Dollar stockholders will own somewhere between 12.7 percent and 15.1 percent of Dollar Tree’s outstanding common shares at closing.

Core customers for bargain stores and major retailers like Wal-Mart have been among the hardest hit by the recession and its aftermath because of job instability.

Family Dollar has struggled and has attempted to reinvigorate sales by lowering prices on almost 1,000 basic items. It’s cut some jobs and shuttered underperforming stores. The company had been conducting a strategic review since the winter, and investor Carl Icahn urged Family Dollar last month to put itself up for sale.

Dollar Tree CEO Bob Sasser said Monday that the deal will give Dollar Tree more than 13,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada. That is nearly three times as many stores as Wal-Mart Stores Inc., though Wal-Mart’s square footage is still greater.

The combined Dollar Tree-Family Dollar chain will have sales of more than $18 billion and Sasser says that the transaction will create a more diverse company with an enhanced geographic reach.

Dollar Tree stores sell products for $1 or less, while Family Dollar’s pricing is much broader.

Dollar Tree will continue to operate under the existing Dollar Tree, Deals, and Dollar Tree Canada store signs. It will keep the Family Dollar brand as well.

Family Dollar Chairman and CEO Howard Levine will still lead those stores and report to Sasser. He will join Dollar Tree’s board.

Dollar Tree plans to finance the deal with available cash, bank debt and bonds.

The boards of both companies have unanimously approved the deal, which is expected to close by early next year. It still needs approval from Family Dollar shareholders.

Shares of Family Dollar Stores Inc., based in Charlotte, North Carolina, surged more than 21 percent before the opening bell. Shares of Dollar Tree Inc., based in Chesapeake, Virginia, are up more than 3 percent.

TIME Apple

These 5 Facts About Apple Will Blow Your Mind

Berlin Apple Store Opens For Business
Apple Inc. iMac computers are seen on display at the new Apple Inc. store located on Kurfurstendamm Street in Berlin, Germany, on Friday, May 3, 2013. Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Even in a slow quarter the iPhone by itself generates more revenue than all of Amazon

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This post is in partnership with Fortune, which offers the latest business and finance news. Read the article below originally published at Fortune.com.

After Apple reported its quarterly earnings Tuesday, Slate’s Jordan Weissmann offered several eye-opening comparisons. Among them:

  • If the iPhone were a company in its own right, it would be bigger than McDonald’s and Coca Cola combined.
  • The iPad generated more revenue last quarter than Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Groupon, and Tesla combined.
  • Apple’s sales from hardware accessories is larger than Chipotle’s revenue.
  • Apple’s iTunes, software, and services businesses are bigger than eBay.
  • While sales of the old iPod line may be shrinking, it’s still 77% larger than Twitter.

LINK: If Apple Products Were Their Own Companies, They’d Be as Big as …

Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter at@philiped. Read his Apple AAPL coverage at fortune.com/ped or subscribe via his RSS feed.

TIME Innovation

Something Is Wrong With the Way We Aspire to Success

StephanieAlvarezEwens

bif10-600-sq-info

This is the second of a 10-article series of conversations with transformational leaders who will be storytellers at theBIF10 Collaborative Innovation Summit in Providence, RI, on Sept. 17-18.

“If you’re in business today, you’re running for office every day.”

So says Alan Webber, co-founder of Fast Company magazine and a progressive Democrat who recently conceded his bid for governor of New Mexico.

Webber promoted an education-focused, pro-jobs campaign platform that leveraged his background in social business. The only candidate in the race not formerly involved in the state’s government, his supporters valued his outsider perspective and resistance to local political cynicism.

Running for office may seem to be a tricky venture for a media entrepreneur with a blunt, provocative journalistic record. But to Webber, running for governor was a natural culmination of his career-long mission to understand and transform broken systems.

Webber’s talk at BIF9, last year’s Collaborative Innovation Summit, articulated the broken place he sees now in both business and politics. In both systems, he claimed, “something is wrong about the way we’re aspiring to success.”

In his talk, Webber recounted an article by entrepreneur Mark Fuller, published in Fast Company’s first issue. “It asked, ‘How did the United States manage to win every battle in Vietnam, and lose the War?’— because they lost track of the point of the exercise.”

To Webber, the same is true for American business and politics. “Every 10 years, we drive the economic car into the ditch,” Webber said, “It keeps happening because our systems are designed to create this outcome.”

At the BIF9 Summit, Webber’s ideas were welcomed. “Some conferences give you a feeling that all the talks were written by the same person, memorized, and then delivered as a Forrest Gump-ian box of chocolates,” he reflects. “The BIF Summit is different. The design specs are human-centric. With BIF storytellers, you get the feeling that there’s actual alignment between who they are and what they’re doing.”

Webber and fellow Fast Company co-founder Bill Taylor used their magazine to rally for a major cultural shift in business, a phenomenon that Webber referred to in his BIF talk as “the disappearance of the man in the grey flannel suit.” The concept of the company man who put himself aside so that he could put food on the table was no longer sustainable.

“Work is too important to be alienated from your sense of self,” Webber maintained.

Fast Company used the conceit of the worker drone to criticize America’s toxic work culture. The magazine aligned itself against an economy built upon principles of pure financial return at the expense of sound business practices.

Fast Company wasn’t a business magazine,” Webber notes. “We had a business model, but we also had a philosophical agenda and a political sensibility about what makes for a good life. It wasn’t articles; it was a curriculum.”

+++

Alan Webber is tough to interview.

He refuses set questions. “Let’s have a conversation,” he insists. He openly shares what he’s struggling with and compels the same. He compliments generously, but does not endorse. He has deep laughter lines.

Yet, when prompted to talk about his new home state, his eyes light up. He tells many stories: of what he learned from meeting an education specialist at the local coffee shop, of listening to the stories of struggle of 16th generation Acequia stewards, of the privilege of having an audience with Pueblo heads of state.

He talks about his state’s resilience and cultural richness. “Santa Fe’s the oldest state capital in the United States, but you rarely hear about the history of Spanish exploration living at Plymouth Rock,” says the former Boston resident.

Webber claims he has no plans to disengage from public service. In his letter of concession he maintained, “It was not only a campaign to elect a candidate — it was a campaign to make an argument about New Mexico.”

The state, under the administration of Republican governor Susana Martínez, ranks 50th in the country in overall child well-being and job growth.

“When you’re number 50, you have no time to waste,” Webber says. To him, it doesn’t matter whether the case for New Mexico is made from the business, political or ethical angle “because today, they are increasingly the same.”

“Politics is not something you’d wish on your worst enemy,” Webber jokes. Yet, he also says, “I think running for governor was the right thing to do. I have met an amazing group of people through the campaign, people who’ve asked me to help them with their projects.”

He adds, “It’s a real a blessing when people think you can help them.”

The BIF Collaborative Innovation Summit combines 30 brilliant storytellers with more than 400 innovation junkies in a two-day storytelling jam, featuring tales of personal discovery and transformation that spark real connection and “random collisions of unusual suspects.”

Saul Kaplan is the author of The Business Model Innovation Factory. He is the founder and chief catalyst of the Business Innovation Factory (BIF) in Providence and blogs regularly at It’s Saul Connected. Follow him on Twitter at @skap5. Nicha Ratana is a senior pursuing a degree in English Nonfiction Writing at Brown University and an intern at The Business Innovation Factory. Follow her on Twitter at @nicharatana.

TIME Careers & Workplace

3 Simple Steps to Loving Your Job—Any Job

Guy in an office
ONOKY - Eric Audras—Getty Images/Brand X

Loving work is not a pipe dream. It's actually pretty easy to achieve


This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

By Laura Garnett

The reality is clear–people aren’t maximizing their true potential at work. In the New York Times article “Why You Hate Your Job,” Tony Schwartz, CEO of the Energy Project, and Christine Porath, associate professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and a consultant to the Energy Project, lay out the case for why so many people struggle to find joy in their jobs.

I contend that people feel caught between the struggle of being “successful” and loving work, not believing that the two can be one. As I’ve seen in my work with executives across the country, they can.

All too often, people feel as though their emotional sacrifice of joy is rationalized by the fact that they are able to support a family or a lifestyle that is viewed as “successful.” Being viewed as a success, regardless of how you feel, ends up being another, more-often used metric for fulfillment. When your neighbors and family see you as successful despite your empty feeling, it makes it easier to endure.

Loving work is seen as an ideal that few can achieve, but those who do are the ones who have truly won the lottery of life. You experience something that goes beyond anything material that you can acquire; you feel fulfilled, challenged and engaged. The problem is that loving work has been treated as something that is a byproduct of being successful, not a necessary steppingstone. Too often, people forge the path for financial success thinking that the result will provide fulfillment. Loving work has not been viewed as a critical component of success; it’s just a “nice to have.” The reality is that loving work is not something that you can wish for or dream up. It requires hard work, commitment, and strategy.

Notwithstanding, loving work is not as much a pipe dream as winning the lottery–it’s something far easier to achieve. Here are three specific ways to get there:

1. Decide that you will make loving what you do and being engaged a focus–and be willing to make changes accordingly.

We all naturally want to love our work. In fact, according to the world-renowned psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, “The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times. … The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.” Which is why, as humans, we are most engaged when we have found a sweet spot of challenge.

However, we are the ones who need to take responsibility for creating the conditions for this to occur, not wait for it to happen. This switch from thinking about work from a reactive perspective to a proactive one is one of the key components to creating fulfilling jobs. Generally the proactivity occurs while job hunting or pitching for a project, but once the work begins, you go into reactive mode. Which explains the dip in engagement from job acquisition to day-to-day operating. Loving work is a commitment that requires active day-to-day prioritization. It has to move from a wish-list item to a priority.

2. Know your talent and purpose, and make them key components of your job.

Loving your job requires that you utilize what you’re best at (your talent), and the result of your work gives you fulfillment (purpose). You need to first know this about yourself, then value these things and know how to use them day to day in your working life. How do you do this? Pay attention to when you are excited and when you feel fulfilled or get support if you can’t figure it out on your own. Your talent is not what you do. It’s how you do what you do: How you think, how you most often problem solve, your go-to way of processing information. And your purpose is not as lofty as it sounds. It’s the type of impact that gives you fulfillment. I have found that if you are able to identify a core challenge you have had in your life and then help others with this challenge, you can introduce fulfillment into your job in an instant.

Howard Schultz of Starbucks is a great example of this. His desire to help individuals have health insurance at work as a result of his parents’ working blue-collar jobs without health benefits is the backbone of the company’s mission: “Our mission: To inspire and nurture the human spirit–one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.” The key is taking these two aspects of yourself and being strategic with how you use them as cornerstones of your job.

3. Be willing to innovate your habits and your lifestyle to accommodate your well-being.

Not being engaged at work is a hard habit to break. According to Gallup’s engagement survey, 71 percent of Americans aren’t engaged at work. Lack of engagement speaks to lack of challenge. Once you commit to loving work and using your talent and purpose as guiding principles, then changing your habits is the next step. Take, for example, continuing to accept and do projects that don’t challenge you. In the extreme example, it may mean getting a new job. But before you do that, communicate to your organization why this project is not right for you. Build a case for the work that would keep you highly motivated and challenged. Find someone else who would benefit from doing the work that is not a good fit for you. Make an effort to create the opportunity you are seeking to be engaged in. Being engaged and challenged should be added as a key business objective that has action items and goals.

If you don’t have the autonomy to do this, then it may be that you are in the wrong job. If you are not challenged and feeling engaged, start a job search and figure out what will change this experience for you. Job hunting when you are clear on your desire for loving work along with your talent and purpose is a game changer. It fine-tunes your focus so that finding that perfect opportunity is easier.

The bottom line? Loving your job is a skill and a practice. As with all practices, it can seem daunting at first. However, once you get a taste of work that fills you up rather than breaks you down, you will never want to go back to your old ways.

More from Inc:

The 8 Best Industries for Starting a Business

If This Guy Made $1M Wearing T-shirts and Selling his Name, What’s Holding You Back?

The Top 5 Reasons Small Businesses Fail

5 Often Quoted Tips for Powerful Presentations

7 Things Well-Liked People Always Do

TIME Economy

The Average American Family Is Poorer Than It Was 10 Years Ago

The typical American household is worth a third less than it was in 2003, according to a new study

The typical American household was significantly poorer in 2013 than it was ten years earlier as a result of the Great Recession, a new study shows, an effect that is compounded by growing wealth inequality in the United States.

The net worth of the typical American household in 2003 was $87,992, adjusting for inflation. Ten years later, it was just $56,335, a decline of 36 percent, according to a study by the Russell Sage Foundation.

But even as the average American household’s wealth declined, the net worth of wealthy households increased substantially. The average wealth of the American household in the 95th percentile was $1,192,639 in 2003, and $1,364,834 ten years later, an increase of 14 percent.

The authors of the study said the reason for the disparity was that affluent households were able to ride the success of the surging stock market after the 2008 crash, while middle class families were severely impacted by the decreasing value of their homes.

Wealth declined for everyone in the aftermath of the Great Recession, but better-off families were able to rebound. Households at the bottom of the wealth distribution, on the other hand, lost the largest share of their wealth.

‘The American economy has experienced rising income and wealth inequality for several decades, and there is little evidence that these trends are likely to reverse in the near term,” wrote the authors of the study.

MONEY

10 Things Americans Have Suddenly Stopped Buying

Popping bubble gum
Ross Culshaw—Getty Images

America is just not the clean-shaven, gun-buying, soda-drinking, Chef Boyardee-eating place it used to be

For a variety of reasons—including but not limited to increased health consciousness, the harried pace of modern-day life, and plain old shifting consumer preferences,—Americans have scaled back on purchases of many items, sometimes drastically so. Here’s a top 10 list of things we’re not buying anymore, at least not anywhere near as frequently as we used to.

Cereal
In one recent four-week period, cereal sales were down 7%, and cereal giant Kellogg’s sales decreased 10%. The reasons for cereal’s declining dominance at the breakfast table are many. As the Wall Street Journal reported, consumers are more apt nowadays to turn to yogurt or fast food in the morning, and they’re less likely to have time to eat breakfast at home at all—not even if it’s a simple bowl of cereal.

Consumers also want their breakfast to pack more punch, protein-wise. “We are competing with quick-serve restaurants more, but the bigger driver is that people want more protein,” Kellogg CEO John Bryant told the Journal. It’s no coincidence that milk sales have been falling alongside cereal, with cow’s milk struggling especially due to the rise of alternatives like soy and almond milk. (Sales of yet another breakfast-at-home staple, orange juice, have plummeted 40% since the late 1990s.)

To try to put cereal back on the spoon of more breakfast eaters, food makers have been resorting to all manner of gimmicks, including the promoting of new higher-protein cereals, as well as the idea that cereal is a great late-night snack rather than just a breakfast-time basic.

Soda
The crash of soda—diet soda in particular—has been years in the making, with consumers increasingly turning to energy drinks, flavored water, and other beverages instead of the old carbonated caffeine drink of choice. The latest Wall Street report from Coca-Cola showed that the soda giant missed estimates, partly because sales of Diet Coke in North America fell in the “mid-single digits.”

(MORE: 10 Things Millennials Won’t Spend Money On)

While a lot of soda’s slump can be attributed to shifting consumer preferences—more organic, less sugar—the broader war on soda involving taxes and big-beverage bans must factor in too. And if First Lady Michelle Obama has any say in things, the decline of soda is a trend that’ll continue: Her ongoing “Drink Up” campaign encourages kids to consume more water—and, consequently, less soda.

Gum
Likely due to heightened competition from mints and candies, chewing gum sales have dipped 11% over the past four years, the Associated Press reported. The editorial board of the News Tribune of Washington state, for one, weighed in that it is wonderful that gum sales are down in the gutter, sniffing, “Gum-chewing doesn’t do us any favors, making us look like cows chewing our cud. For humans, that’s not a good look.”

Guns
Gun sales have been booming in recent years, with sales periodically juiced when perceived anti-gun politicians enter office or a high-profile mass shooting takes place, prompting consumers to seek guns for protection—or just out of fear they won’t be able to buy them in the future because tougher gun regulations might be passed.

Lately, however, gun sales have fallen, sometimes sharply. The big reasons why this is so seem to be that there’s little in the way of likely gun control for gun enthusiasts to motivate new purchases, and also that everyone who has wanted to buy a gun in the past couple of years has already bought one (or seven). In the first quarter of 2014, the guns-and-ammo-focused Sportsman’s Warehouse retail chain saw comparable stores sales drop 18%, while gun sales at Cabela’s fell 22%.

But a little perspective is necessary. While guns sales and background checks are down compared to the past couple of years, they remain far above the levels of the early ’00s. As gun industry experts have put it, the decline probably just represents a “returning to normal” for gun sales—which aren’t as strong as they once were, but are still very strong nonetheless.

Cupcakes
Well, it looks like many of us at least have stopped buying the pricey “gourmet” variety of cupcakes. That’s the conclusion to be drawn with the collapse of Crumbs, the 65-store chain that shut down abruptly in early July. The news was widely interpreted as a sign that the gourmet cupcake trend is officially dead.

Chef Boyardee
ConAgra recently issued a warning to Wall Street that its consumer food volume experienced a 7% decline, and that it faced “continued profit challenges” due to some of its flagging, tired products—in particular, Chef Boyardee, the 86-year-old canned pasta brand.

Golf Gear
It’s not surprising that going hand in hand with fewer people playing golf, there are also fewer golf purchases being rung up at sporting goods store registers. The most notable eye-opener occurred this past spring, when Dick’s Sporting Goods announced that its golf equipment sales were down around 10%, at the same time the average driver was selling at a price of 16% less.

(MORE: Could Rory McIlroy Be Golf’s Long-Awaited Savior?)

Razors
Beard-loving hipsters were blamed for the decline in razor sales last summer, and in 2014, razor giants like Procter and Gamble (owner of Gillette) has continued to blame poor sales on the trendiness of beards. Everything from the shaggy beards worn by the World Series champion Boston Red Sox, to month-long no-shave “challenges” like Movember and Decembeard have been cited as reasons why guys have scaled back on razor purchases. In response, marketers have introduced even more varieties of new high-tech razors, while also pushing the concept of “manscaping,” with special razors designed just for the task. The hope is that even if men aren’t shaving their faces, they might still shave one or several other parts of their bodies.

Bread
According to one survey, 56% of American shoppers said they are cutting back on white bread. White bread was surpassed in sales by wheat bread sometime around 2006, but in recent years the gluten-free trend has hurt sales of all breads. Sales are even down in European countries like baguette-loving France, where consumption is down 10%. In American restaurants, meanwhile, there’s an epidemic of free bread disappearing from tables, as fewer owners want to bear the expense of putting out free rolls and other breads that no one is going to eat.

Convertibles
The fun-loving, wind-in-your-hair thrill of driving in a convertible just hasn’t been enough to keep consumers buying the classic ragtop in strong numbers. Businessweek noted that convertible sales have fallen 44% since 2004, and automakers have been significantly scaling back the number of models that are even offered in convertible form. Apparently, too many consumers see convertibles as impractical, and/or not worth the $5,000 or so premium one must pay compared to the regular model.

Data recently released from Experian Automotive indicates that the convertible is largely now a toy purchased by the rich. Nearly 1 in 5 convertible buyers have household incomes of at least $175,000 (compared to 11% of buyers of all cars), and 12% of convertible buyers own homes valued over $1 million (compared to 4% of buyers of other cars). For what it’s worth, convertible drivers are also better educated than the average car owner (50% of convertible buyers have at least a bachelor’s degree, versus 38% overall), and nearly one-quarter of all convertibles are now purchased in three sunny states with ample coastlines: California, Florida, and Texas.

Related:

10 Things Millennials Won’t Spend Money On

TIME advertisements

This Toyota Ad Is Utterly Insane — and Wonderful

Jungle Wakudoki, a.k.a. the most delightful two minutes of your day

+ READ ARTICLE

Japanese ads are an art form in and of themselves. But this spot produced for Toyota by agency Dentsu Aegis is incredible nonetheless. The premise is dead simple: a group of businessmen are driving through the jungle in their Toyota truck. When they pull over to let one of them relieve themselves, things get … well crazy. The spot is part of a campaign dubbed “Do the Wakudoki,” which encourages consumers to submit clips of themselves dancing.

[AdWeek]

TIME

You’ll Never Guess Which Store Is the Most Powerful in the U.S.

T.J. Maxx Retail
A customer shops at the opening of TJ Maxx's 1000th store on April 25, 2012 in Washington, DC. Paul Morigi—Getty Images

The off-price chain has built a fantastically loyal following. How?

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This post is in partnership with Fortune, which offers the latest business and finance news. Read the article below originally published at Fortune.com.

Consider Company X. Its annual sales—now $27.4 billion, or more than those of Estée Lauder, Hilton Worldwide, and Hershey combined—have risen 50% over the past six years. Its profits have almost tripled, to $2.1 billion. Its shareholders have been the beneficiaries of 18 consecutive years of earnings-per-share growth. In its nearly-four-decade history, it has had only one year of negative same-store sales. And it does all this by selling blouses…pots and pans…and bedding, sunglasses, sriracha seasoning, yoga mats, and the occasional $1,250 Stella McCartney dress.

Company X—make that TJX—may well be the biggest enigma in an industry so fragile and capricious that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz once likened it to the “human condition.” The business of retail is hard stuff. Chains soar when they manage to sell into the zeitgeist (“Tar-zhay,” anyone?) and collapse when the stars of public taste realign (Abercrombie). In the off-price realm that the TJX TJX Companies dominates, it is, if anything, harder. The past six years have seen the demise of Filene’s Basement, Daffy’s, and Loehmann’s, which has reemerged as an online-only store. The number of customer purchases at TJX, by contrast, has risen in each of the last six years; over that time, TJX shares have climbed over 200%.

“It’s the most consistent, most powerful apparel retailer in the United States,” says Howard Davidowitz, who has run his own retail consulting and investment banking firm for 33 years. “It’s a bold statement, but it’s true.” Ron Hess, a professor of marketing at William & Mary’s Mason School of Business, puts it this way: “They are stunningly good.”

But there is one other salient fact about the Framingham, Mass., retailer that adds to the enigma: It will do almost anything to prevent anybody else from knowing how it has managed all of the above. TJX is Company X: a black box—arguably one of the most secretive retailers around.

For the rest of the story, go to Fortune.com.

TIME

Here’s Why the Mac Is Beating the PC Right Now

Mac vs. PC
A MacBook computer and instruction manual. JiaJia Liu—flickr Editorial/Getty Images

Mac sales are up, PC sales are down. And in that shrinking market, Apple takes the lion’s share of the profits

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This post is in partnership with Fortune, which offers the latest business and finance news. Read the article below originally published at Fortune.com.

Tim Cook reported Tuesday that Mac sales grew almost 18% year over year in the June quarter while the rest of the PC market shrank by nearly 2%.

And the Mac is the most profitable PC on the market. By far.

“Indeed,” writes Asymco‘s Horace Dediu, “it’s more profitable than all the other vendors put together.”

For the rest of the story, go to Fortune.com.

TIME

Starbucks Is Totally Killing It Right Now

Starbucks Center, headquarters for the i
Starbucks Center, headquarters for the international coffee and coffeehouse chain, is seen on March 22, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. Mark Ralston—AFP/Getty Images

Starbucks posted a solid quarter after announcing price hikes in July

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This post is in partnership with Fortune, which offers the latest business and finance news. Read the article below originally published at Fortune.com.

The numbers: Starbucks met analyst estimates on Thursday by posting third quarter profits of 67 cents per share on $4.15 billion in sales. Analysts had expected the Seattle-based coffee company to deliver earnings of 67 cents on $4.15 billion in revenue. Starbucks also said sales growth accelerated to 11% for the quarter from 9% in the previous quarter. Other especially significant numbers from the earnings report: Comparable store sales 6% during a quarter in which the average price of customer orders increased 4%. Starbucks announced plans to raise costs for drinks and packaged items in the U.S. earlier this month, the first price hikes in almost four years. Starbucks also opened 344 new stores around the world, for a total of nearly 21,000 in 64 countries.

The takeaway: With the price of drinks rising, Starbucks isn’t likely to alienate its customers. The company is one of the most admired in the world (in fact, fifth on Fortune’s most admired list). Plus, the company is expanding its brand by getting into the tea business through its partnership with Teavanna, whose products are now available in-store. Overseas sales, too, are strong, highlighted by the company’s 18th consecutive quarter where global comparable growth has been 5% or more.

What’s interesting: Starbucks unveiled a number of new initiatives this quarter to keep its customers (and employees) happy and coming back for more. For instance, Starbucks introduced its Fizzio handcrafted sodas and Teavanna iced teas to bolster its refreshment offerings. Starbucks has also partnered with Duracell to offer Powermat wireless charging in certain stores, with a planned expansion to more stores in 2015. Also big news for the quarter: The coffee company launched the Starbucks College Achievement Plan for employees to earn a bachelor’s degree with Starbucks helping to foot the bill.

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