San Diego-based restaurant operator and franchiser Jack in the Box has revealed that net earnings for its Q2 ended 14 April increased 8.4% to US$18.2m, compared with US$16.8m in the previous year.

Earnings per share were 45 cents; one cent higher than analysts’ consensus estimates, and three cents higher than last year. Year-to-date, earnings per share were US$1.12 versus US$1.07 last year.

The company warned that earnings results include adjustments for the adoption of SAB 101, which occurred in the Q4 2001. On a full-year basis, however, SAB 101 adjustments are expected to have an immaterial impact on operating results.

Company restaurant sales grew 7.4% to US$418.1m compared with last year’s Q2. Total revenues grew 8.3% to US$447.6m. Year-to-date, sales increased 8.4% compared with fiscal 2001, and revenues improved 8.9% to US$1.04bn.

Q2 same-store sales at company restaurants declined 0.3% from last year and for the year-to-date, same-store sales have improved 0.3%.

“I am pleased with our earnings,” said chairman and CEO Robert J. Nugent: “The company’s new Profit Improvement Program has helped produce a Q2 gross profit rate of 18.7% and an SG&A expense rate of 11.1%, each 0.1% better than forecast. Additionally, I have confidence in our ability to renew our momentum with investments in strategic initiatives currently underway in quality, new product development and technology.”

During the Q2, Jack in the Box introduced three new products, all of which contributed to sales systemwide, and opened 20 new company restaurants, two more than expected.

Looking forward, the company estimates that its Q3 earnings per share will be 57 cents compared with 53 cents in the Q3 last year. Guidance for fiscal 2002 earnings per share is now US$2.27, versus US$2.24 announced previously.