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Brinker Doubles Profits on Maggiano's

DALLAS (TheStreet) -- Brinker International (EAT) topped Wall Street's expectations with higher profits in its fiscal second quarter thanks to strength at its Maggiano's Little Italy Restaurants.

Brinker said early Tuesday that its net quarterly profits more than doubled to $37.5 million, or 41 cents per share, compared with year-earlier earnings of $18.3 million, or 18 cents per share.


Excluding one-time items related to Brinker's income tax rate and one less reporting week in fiscal 2011 than in the prior year, profits would have come in at 38 cents per share, a 52% jump compared with 25 cents adjusted earnings per share in the fiscal second quarter last year.

Revenue fell 4.8% to $671.9 million, from $705.5 million in the year-earlier period.

Analysts' consensus call had been for Brinker to book earnings of $30 million, or 32 cents per share, on revenue of $670.2 million.

Brinker shares jumped 5.3% in the first minutes of trading Tuesday.

Brinker said systemwide comparable same-store sales -- or sales at stores open at least one year, a closely watched metric in the restaurant industry -- decreased 3.7% in the recent quarter, compared with a 3.6% decline in the year-earlier period. Comps at company-owned Chili's restaurants fell 4.9% while Maggiano's saw a gain of 4.7%.

Quarterly revenue at Chili's fell 7.4% to $548.3 million, attributed in part to a 3.1% net capacity decline reflecting the sale of 21 restaurants to a franchisee in December 2009 and ten restaurant closures since the 2010 fiscal second quarter.

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