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AU BON PAIN ANNOUNCES THIRD QUARTER EARNINGS OF 9 CENTS PER SHARE, RETURN TO POSITIVE COMPARABLE SALES IN LAST FOUR WEEKS OF QUARTER

    AU BON PAIN ANNOUNCES THIRD QUARTER EARNINGS OF 9 CENTS PER SHARE,
    RETURN TO POSITIVE COMPARABLE SALES IN LAST FOUR WEEKS OF QUARTER
    BOSTON, Nov. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Au Bon Pain Co., Inc. (NASDAQ: ABPCA) today announced that net income for its third quarter ended Oct. 5, 1991 increased 60 percent to $845,000, or 9 cents per share, compared to $529,000, or 8 cents per share for the comparable quarter last year.  For the year-to-date period ended Oct. 5, 1991, net income was $1,965,000, or 23 cents per share, before the after-tax effect of the write-off of deferred finance costs totalling $343,000, or 4 cents per share, resulting from the repayment of long-term debt subsequent to the company's June 6th initial public offering.  Net income for the comparable 1990 period was $1,251,000, or 18 cents per share.
    Revenues increased 18 percent in the third quarter of 1991 to $16.6 million from $14.0 million in the third quarter of 1990. Throughout the third quarter, comparable restaurant sales continued the improving trend which began late in second quarter, with the last four-week period of the third quarter showing positive comparable sales of .4 percent vs. the prior year.  Overall, comparable restaurant sales for the third quarter declined 2.6 percent vs. the 1990 third quarter, almost a 5-point improvement over the disappointing 7.4 percent decline registered in the second quarter of 1991.  Comparable restaurant sales in the Boston, Philadelphia and New York City markets rebounded significantly during the quarter (see table).  Both the New York City and Washington, D.C. markets registered positive comparable sales for the full quarter.  Ron Shaich, co-chairman and co-CEO, commented, "We are very pleased to see the positive same store sales, which we believe are significantly stronger than those of many of our regional competitors.  Nonetheless, we expect the economic weakness to continue, and thus, remain cautious."  For the year-to-date period, revenues increased 17 percent through Oct. 5, 1991 vs. the previous year-to-date. Comparable restaurant sales through the third quarter of 1991 declined 4.7 percent vs. the first three quarters of 1990.
    Operating income for the third quarter of 1991 increased 13 percent to $1,448,000 from $1,284,000 in the previous year's third quarter, bringing year-to-date operating income to $4,139,000 in 1991, 24 percent above the operating income of $3,326,000 for the first three quarters of 1990.  Despite the improvement in operating margin in the third quarter of 1991 to 8.7 percent from 8.2 percent in the second quarter of 1991, third quarter operating margin declined relative to the third quarter of 1990.  Higher percentage restaurant operating expenses and depreciation more than offset percentage improvements in general and administrative expenses and cost of food and paper products.  Year-to-date, 1991 operating margin of 8.2 percent continues to exceed the 7.7 percent margin for the first three quarters of 1990, due to improvements in the percentage cost of food and paper products and general and administrative expenses.
    Year-to-date 13 company-operated and two franchised bakery cafes have been opened.  Of the 99 bakery cafes currently existing system- wide, 78 are company-operated and 21 are franchised.  Seven additional company-operated and one franchised bakery cafes are expected to be opened in November and December of this year.  Louis Kane, co-chairman and co-CEO, commented, "We have been pleased with the quality of the openings to-date in 1991.  Despite the short-term impact on sales presented by the economic conditions in the Northeast, the weakness of the real estate market creates an extraordinary opportunity for Au Bon Pain over the long-term."
                         AU BON PAIN CO., INC.
                      Comparable Restaurant Sales
                     Company-Operated Restaurants
                        1990                      1991
                                       Q1          Q2         Q3
    Boston            (2.8) pct      (8.8) pct   (11.4) pct  (5.6) pct
    Philadelphia       9.4           (2.0)       (13.8)      (2.2)
    New York City      (.6)          (7.9)        (3.5)       4.0
    Washington, D.C.  26.4           26.5         15.1        4.7
    Total Company       .6 pct       (4.4) pct    (7.4) pct  (2.6) pct
                                     Third Quarter, 1991
                                 P8           P9           P10
    Boston                     (6.7) pct    (7.3) pct     (2.8) pct
    Philadelphia               (5.6)        (1.8)           .5
    New York City               2.4           .5           8.0
    Washington, D.C.            3.6          4.4           6.1
    Total Company              (4.0) pct    (4.4) pct       .4 pct
                         AU BON PAIN CO., INC.
                       STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
             (amounts in thousands, except per share data)
                                         For the 12 weeks ended
                                      Oct. 5,               Oct. 6,
                                       1991                   1990
    Revenues:
     Restaurant sales                 $15,456               $13,059
     Franchise sales and
      other revenues                    1,176                   989
     Total                            $16,632               $14,048
    Costs and expenses:
     Cost of food & paper products      5,314                 4,506
     Restaurant operating expenses      7,669                 6,362
     Depreciation and amortization      1,226                   985
     General and administrative           975                   911
     Total                             15,184                12,764
    Operating income                    1,448                 1,284
    Interest expense                       47                   434
    Other (income), net                   (57)                  (55)
    Minority interest                      48                    37
    Write-off of capitalized
     finance costs                        ---                   ---
    Income before provision
     for income taxes                   1,410                   868
    Provision for income taxes            565                   339
    Net income                           $845                  $529
    Income per common share           9 cents               8 cents
    Weighted average shares
     outstanding                        9,859                 6,815
                                          For the 40 weeks ended
                                       Oct. 5,              Oct. 6,
                                        1991                 1990
    Revenues:
     Restaurant sales                 $46,600               $39,908
     Franchise sales and
      other revenues                    3,590                 3,014
     Total                            $50,190               $42,922
    Costs and expenses:
     Cost of food & paper products     16,016                14,246
     Restaurant operating expenses     22,988                19,217
     Depreciation and amortization      3,886                 3,091
     General and administrative         3,161                 3,042
     Total                             46,051                39,596
    Operating income                    4,139                 3,326
    Interest expense                      862                 1,394
    Other (income),  net                 (148)                 (168)
    Minority interest                     165                    68
    Write-off of capitalized
      finance costs                       575                    --
    Income before provision
     for income taxes                   2,685                 2,032
    Provision for income taxes          1,063                   781
    Net income                         $1,622-(a)            $1,251
    Income per common share          19 cents-(a)          18 cents
    Weighted average shares
     outstanding                        8,500                 6,801
    ---
    NOTE (a)-Includes the after-tax impact of the write-off of deferred finance costs of $343,000, or 4 cents per share.
    -0-                        11/4/91
    /CONTACT:  Tony Carroll, chief financial officer of Au Bon Pain Co., Inc., 617-423-2100/
    (ABPCA) CO:  Au Bon Pain Co., Inc. ST:  Massachusetts IN:  LEI SU:  ERN DD-KM -- NE018 -- 0863 11/04/91 16:01 EST
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Date:Nov 4, 1991
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