Sonic 1Q earnings advance 22 percent

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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OKLAHOMA CITY — Sonic Corp. earned $6.1 million, or 11 cents per share, for the first quarter of fiscal 2013, compared to $5.5 million or 9 cents per share in the comparable year-ago period.

System-wide same-store sales increased 3.0 percent, which was included a 4.2 percent increase at company drive-ins and a 2.9 percent increase at franchise drive-ins for the first fiscal quarter ended Nov. 30, 2012. First-quarter company drive-in sales declined by $3.3 million on refranchising of 34 company drive-ins during the second fiscal quarter of 2012. This was partially offset by an increase in same-store sales, the company said.

“We are pleased the momentum in our business continues to build with a strong start in fiscal 2013,” said Cliff Hudson, chairman and CEO. “Sustaining positive same-store sales during the quarter was the result of our improved day-part promotional strategy and effective creative messaging, complemented by our long-standing initiatives to improve customer service, product quality and value perception. This growth in sales led to an 80 basis point improvement in drive-in margins. In addition, during the quarter, we purchased $18 million of stock representing more than 1.8 million shares or approximately 3 percent of our outstanding stock. These three factors – same-store sales growth, operating leverage and use of free cash flow — are key components in our multi-layered growth strategy.

“We will continue to focus on key initiatives to drive our multi-layered growth strategy in calendar 2013. Starting this month, we will enhance our media purchasing by allocating a greater percentage of our media spend to national cable. In addition, over the next two to three years, initiatives such as our new point-of-sale system will complement our same-store sales initiatives to increase sales and profits and the new lower-cost small building prototype will improve return on investment on new drive-ins, spurring increased development,” Hudson added. “We are confident our multi-layered growth strategy, which incorporates same-store sales growth, leverage from higher sales, deployment of free cash flow, increasing royalty revenues and new drive-in development, will enable us to achieve double-digit earnings per share growth in the near and long term.”

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