California Pizza Kitchen reported revenues increased 22% to US$67.6m for the fourth quarter ended 30 December, 2001, versus US$54.9m in the Q4 of 2000. Comparable restaurant sales increased approximately 2% for the three-month period.
The increases in comparable restaurant sales were comprised of a 3% increase in average check due to pricing adjustments implemented earlier in the year. The difference in comparable sales resulted from a slight decline in customer counts. Based on these preliminary results, the companies management say they are comfortable with fourth quarter 2001 earnings per share guidance at the high-end of the previously announced US$0.14 to US$0.16 range.
California Pizza Kitchen also announced that it established guidance for the first quarter ended March 31, 2002. Based on current visibility, they expect a first quarter 2002 earnings range of approximately US$0.17 to US$0.19 per share based on comparable restaurant sales increases of zero to one percent.
Fred Hipp, President and CEO, stated: “The trend in same store sales has been encouraging. What started out as a very difficult environment post September 11, ended with favorable comparable sales results, particularly at the end of the quarter. While we continue to experience some decline in the third party delivery business, our everyday, discretionary consumer is very satisfied with the California Pizza Kitchen brand. Clearly, this translated into robust dine-in and take-out traffic in late November and December.”
California Pizza Kitchen still expects to open approximately 17 new restaurants in 2002, with three restaurants planned to open in the first quarter, ending 31 March 2002. Based on these assumptions, as well as current market conditions, the Company is reiterating its comfort level with previously announced earnings per share guidance for 2002 in the range of US$0.80 to US$0.84. Implicit in this forecast is a comparable restaurant sales increase in the 1% range.