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Luby's Profit Slips As Restaurant Traffic Declines

HOUSTON (AP) ¿ Restaurant chain operator Luby's Inc. said Wednesday that its earnings slipped in the fiscal second quarter as higher menu prices failed to completely offset declines in guest traffic.

For the 12-week period that ended Feb. 11, earnings dropped 49 percent to $146,000, or 1 cent per share, from $286,000, or 1 cent per share, in the prior year.

Excluding discontinued operations, earnings totaled $196,000, or 1 cent per share.

Sales fell 3 percent to $70.7 million from $72.6 million in the year-earlier second quarter.

Same-store sales, or sales at the company's restaurants open at least one year, slipped 3.2 percent during the quarter, which reflected less guest traffic and higher menu prices.

Luby's noted that its same-store sales results got a boost from Thanksgiving, which fell at the beginning of the quarter, and was hurt to a lesser extent by the unfavorable timing of Lent, which began after the quarter ended.

Without those timing issues, the company estimated that its same-store sales would have declined 5 percent for the second quarter.

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