Chili's heats up

by Bryan Salvage
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DALLAS – For the fiscal fourth quarter ended June 25, Brinker International Inc. reported earnings per diluted share, excluding special items, increased 10.4 percent to $0.85 compared to $0.77 for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013. Sales increased 3.7 percent to $735.0 million and comparable restaurant sales at company-owned restaurants increased 2.3 percent. Chili's company-owned comparable restaurant sales increased 2.5 percent. Maggiano's comparable restaurant sales increased 0.9 percent, representing the 18th consecutive quarterly increase.
"We closed fiscal 2014 with an increase in earnings per diluted share of 15.8 percent, our fourth consecutive year of double-digit growth in a competitive environment," said Wyman Roberts, president and chief executive officer. "These results demonstrate our ability to deliver sustained value to our shareholders."
Chili’s fourth-quarter company sales increased to $639.8 million from $615.7 million in the prior year primarily due to increases in comparable restaurant sales, the acquisition of 11 restaurants in Canada at the end of the prior fiscal year, as well as increases in restaurant capacity. As compared to the prior year, the Chili's operating margin metric was negatively impacted by the classification of revenues and expenses associated with Ziosk.
Maggiano's fourth-quarter company sales of $95.2 million increased 1.9 percent primarily driven by increases in restaurant capacity, menu pricing and traffic. Franchise and other revenues totaled $23.7 million for the fourth quarter, an increase of 13.4 percent compared to $20.9 million in the prior year driven primarily by the revenues associated with Ziosk. US franchise comparable restaurant sales increased 1.4 percent and international comparable restaurant sales increased 0.8 percent. Brinker franchisees generated approximately $423 million in sales1 for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014.
Brinker International Inc. is one of the world's leading casual dining restaurant companies. As of June 25, 2014, Brinker owned, operated or franchised 1,615 restaurants under the names Chili's Grill & Bar (1,569 restaurants) and Maggiano's Little Italy (46 restaurants).
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