The company said its profits had suffered a net loss of $6.7 million, or one cent per share, and said the chain could close more stores in the year ahead.

Rising costs

Starbucks had earlier lowered its 2008 profit forecast, saying fewer customers were visiting US stores and costs were rising.

Until now the chain had enjoyed a steady expansion in the US and abroad since it went public in 1992.

However, shares for the firm went up by four per cent as the company said it expected to meet its profit target for 2009.

Earlier this month the chain said it would close 600 US outlets and cut up to 12,000 jobs in the next year, as the company struggled to compete in the faltering US economy.

Rising crude prices

Exxon's results were partly aided by rising crude oil prices following strong demand, particularly in China and India.

However, the results, which represent a 40 per cent jump from the same quarter last year, are likely to spark anger among consumers as oil prices continue to reach record highs.

Analysts say the mixed results of both firms are due to US consumers spending less money on luxuries and saving their cash instead for necessities.