New York-based Ark Restaurants Corp. has reported a drop in sales for its Q3 ended 29 June, to US$33.3m from US$36.9m in the year-earlier period.

EBITDA was US$4.6m versus US$5.2m last year, and net income down to US$1.8m from US$2m in the prior years quarter. Earnings per share (EPS) were US$0.57 versus US$0.62, on a fully diluted basis. The debt balance had however been reduced to US$18.9m by the end of the Q3, compared with a debt balance of US$27m at the end of the Q3, 30 June 2001.

For the nine months ended 29 June 2002, total revenues were US$85.5m versus US$96.4m year on year. EBITDA was up 12% to US$9.2m versus US$8.2m. Net income increased 122% to US$2.6m versus US$1.2m last year. Fully diluted EPS were US$0.82 versus US$0.37 last year.

During the Q3, Ark Restaurants continued to experience soft sales in two of its three major markets: New York and Washington D.C. Tourist counts were off in both of these markets. According to management, the Las Vegas market has proven to be stable and sales have remained consistent during the quarter.

Michael Weinstein, president and CEO, stated: "We are pleased with Ark's Q3 and nine months results given the current economic environment. We continue to focus on operational excellence and cost control, which have enabled Ark to experience improved net results for the nine month period despite reduced sales. We are committed to utilising our ample free cash flow to reduce our debt balance." Weinstein concluded, "Looking to the remainder of 2002 and FY 2003, we believe our business will improve."

Ark Restaurants owns and operates 26 restaurants, 19 fast food concepts, catering operations and wholesale and retail bakeries.