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AU BON PAIN ANNOUNCES 1991 EARNINGS OF $.34 PER SHARE (BEFORE DEFERRED FINANCE COST WRITE-OFF) AND STRONG FOURTH QUARTER IMPROVEMENT

AU BON PAIN ANNOUNCES 1991 EARNINGS OF $.34 PER SHARE (BEFORE DEFERRED
 FINANCE COST WRITE-OFF) AND STRONG FOURTH QUARTER IMPROVEMENT
 BOSTON, Feb. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Au Bon Pain Co., Inc. (NASDAQ: ABPCA) today announced that net income (unaudited) for the year ended Dec. 28, 1991, was $2,978,000, or $.34 per share, before the after-tax effect of the write-off of deferred finance costs totaling $367,000, or $.04 per share, resulting from the repayment of long-term debt subsequent to the company's June 6 initial public offering. Net income for the 1990 year was $2,017,000, or $.30 per share. For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 28, 1991, net income increased 29 percent to $989,000, or $.10 per share, compared with $766,000, or $.11 per share, for the comparable quarter last year.
 Revenues increased 26 percent in the fourth quarter of 1991 to $17.8 million from $14.1 million in the comparable quarter of 1990. For the full year, revenues (unaudited) increased 19 percent in 1991 vs. the previous year, principally due to the opening of 20 new company- operated bakery cafes during 1991. Throughout the fourth quarter, comparable restaurant sales continued to show significant improvement, with the last four-week period of the fourth quarter showing comparable restaurant sales increases of 5.1 percent vs. the prior year. Overall, comparable restaurant sales for the fourth quarter increased 3.2 percent vs. the 1990 fourth quarter, almost a six percentage point improvement over the third quarter comparable restaurant sales. Comparable restaurant sales in all of the company's markets improved significantly during the quarter, with all markets registering positive comparable sales for the quarter (see table).
 Operating income for the fourth quarter of 1991 increased 14 percent to $1,823,000 from $1,602,000 in the previous year's fourth quarter, bringing full-year operating income (unaudited) to $5,962,000 in 1991, 21 percent above operating income of $4,928,000 for 1990. Despite the improvement in the operating margin in the fourth quarter of 1991 to 10.3 percent from 8.7 percent in the third quarter of 1991, the fourth- quarter operating margin declined relative to the 11.3 percent margin in the fourth quarter of 1990. The lower operating margin was principally due to higher percentage restaurant operating expenses as a result of pre-opening expenses associated with the opening of nine company- operated bakery cafes during the fourth quarter of 1991. For the full year, the operating margin of 8.8 percent exceeded the 8.6 percent margin in 1990, due to improvements in the percentage cost of food and paper products and general and administrative expenses.
 In 1991, 20 company-operated and three franchised bakery cafes were opened. Of the 107 bakery cafes existing systemwide at year-end, 85 were Company-operated and 22 were franchised.
 AU BON PAIN CO., INC.
 Comparable Restaurant Sales
 Company-Operated Restaurants
 1991 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
 (Figures expressed
 as percentage)
 Boston (8.8) (11.4) (5.6) 1.3
 Philadelphia (2.0) (13.8) (2.2) 2.7
 New York City (7.9) (3.5) 4.0 6.1
 Washington, D.C. 26.5 15.1 4.7 8.7
 Total company (4.4) (7.4) (2.6) 3.2
 Fourth Quarter, 1991 P 11 P 12 P 13
 (Figures expressed
 as percentage)
 Boston 0.3 0.0 3.7
 Philadelphia (2.9) 2.2 8.3
 New York City 7.3 4.6 6.2
 Washington, D.C. 8.8 9.4 7.9
 Total company 2.3 2.1 5.1
 -0- 2/24/92
 /CONTACT: Tony Carroll, chief financial officer of Au Bon Pain Co., 617-423-2100/
 (ABPCA) CO: Au Bon Pain Co., Inc. ST: Massachusetts IN: LEI SU: ERN


TS -- NY012 -- 1738 02/24/92 09:09 EST
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Date:Feb 24, 1992
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