Jack in the Box Quarterly Earnings Rise

Wed Aug 4, 2004

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Hamburger restaurant chain Jack In The Box Inc. (JBX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) on Wednesday posted higher quarterly earnings on improved sales from premium products and cost controls.

But the company also forecast fourth-quarter earnings and same-store sales below some analysts estimates and its shares fell more than 8 percent.

The San Diego-based company earned $21.6 million, or 58 cents a share, in the third quarter ended July 4, up from $19.8 million, or 54 cents, a year earlier.

Analysts on an average had expected 54 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Same-store sales, a key measure in retail strength, increased 3.9 percent in the quarter on better sales of its premium products, such as Pannidos and Jack's Ultimate Salads. Total sales rose about 11 percent to $541.2 million.

The company said it raised its fiscal 2004 profit forecast to $2.18 a share, excluding a first-quarter refinancing charge of 15 cents a share. That compared with its previous estimates of $2.14 a share.

Analysts, on average, are expecting $2.17, according to Reuters Estimates.

Jack In The Box, which has about 2,000 namesake and 130 Qdoba Mexican Grill causal-dining restaurants, said it expects to earn 49 cents a share for the fourth quarter, below the average analyst forecast of 52 cents.

It also said it expected same-store sales of 2.2 percent to 2.6 percent at its Jack in the Box restaurants, below some analysts' estimates.

Jack in the Box shares were down $2.55 at $28.70 on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.







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