For fiscal 2012 there were 37 new drive-in openings including 36 new franchise drive-ins. Across the Sonic system, a total of 18 new drive-ins were opened in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, of which 17 were opened by franchisees, versus 17 new drive-in openings during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011, of which 14 were franchise drive-ins.
Fiscal Year 2013 Outlook
The company expects its initiatives to drive sales improvements going forward. However, uncertainty with regard to the macroeconomic environment and its impact on consumer confidence may result in sales volatility. The outlook for fiscal 2013 anticipates the following elements:
- Positive same-store sales in the low single digit range;
- Slightly more new franchise drive-in openings than fiscal 2012;
- Restaurant-level margins to improve between 50 to 100 basis points, depending upon the degree of same-store sales growth at company drive-ins;
- Selling, general and administrative expenses of $68 million to $69 million;
- Depreciation and amortization expense of $41 million to $42 million;
- Net interest expense of approximately $29 million;
- An income tax rate of between 38% and 38.5%, which may vary depending upon the reinstatement of employment tax credit programs;
- Capital expenditures of $30 million to $40 million, which assumes the implementation of a new point-of-sale system in company drive-ins during calendar year 2013; and
- Free cash flow of $45 million to $55 million.
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