San Diego-based hamburger chain Jack in the Box Inc has reported that sales from company restaurants opened more than a year fell 1.3% for the four-week period ended 12 May, compared with a 4.1% increase during the same period a year ago.

Through the first eight periods of fiscal 2002, the company has calculated that same-store sales increased 0.1% on top of a 4.2% increase last year.

Robert J. Nugent, chairman and CEO, reaffirmed earnings per share estimates at 57 cents for the Q3 and US$2.27 for FY 2002: “With the strength of our marketing calendar and advertising support in the latter part of the Q3, and extending into the Q4, we believe our same-store sales will improve,” he said. “Additionally, we have several initiatives and new product introductions which we feel will build the Jack in the Box brand.”

Later in the Q3, the company will introduce an Ultimate Berry Shake, made with real ice cream, and will prepare for the Q4 introduction of another new menu item that will be offered systemwide.

Jack in the Box will also launch a major product-quality improvement program in the Q4. Nugent said: “This systemwide initiative, which will be supported by an aggressive advertising and promotional campaign, will bring a new look to the chain’s primary sandwich product line and will be the most significant quality improvement initiative we’ve undertaken since rolling out our Assemble-to-Order program in 1999.”

Jack in the Box currently operates or franchises more than 1,820 quick-serve restaurants in 16 states.