Linda A. Lang, chairman and chief executive officer, said, “Jack in the Box company same-store sales increased 3.1 percent in the fourth quarter, driven by a combination of traffic growth and an increase in average check. We are extremely pleased with these results, given the difficult comparison to last year’s same-store sales and traffic growth of 5.8 percent and 8.5 percent, respectively. Jack in the Box same-store sales growth for the quarter was almost double that of the QSR sandwich segment for the comparable period, according to The NPD Group’s SalesTrack® Weekly for the 12-week time period ended September 30, 2012. Included in this segment are the top 15 sandwich and QSR burger chain competitors. We believe the same-store sales increases we’ve experienced over the last eight quarters demonstrate our ability to continue to drive sustainable sales and market share growth at the Jack in the Box brand.
“Qdoba’s same-store sales in the fourth quarter increased 0.8 percent for company restaurants and 0.4 percent system-wide, slightly below our expectations. Importantly, company restaurant operating margin at Qdoba improved to 15.5 percent in the fourth quarter from 13.9 percent in the year-ago quarter,” Lang said.
Consolidated restaurant operating margin was 15.1 percent of sales in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared with 13.5 percent of sales in the year-ago quarter. This was lower than the company’s internal expectations due primarily to higher utilities and repairs and maintenance costs.
Food and packaging costs in the quarter were 150 basis points lower than prior year. The decrease resulted from the benefit of price increases as well as a greater proportion of Qdoba company restaurants which combined to more than offset commodity inflation. Overall commodity costs were up less than 1 percent in the quarter.Payroll and employee benefits costs were 40 basis points lower than the year-ago quarter, reflecting leverage from same-store sales increases, the benefits of refranchising Jack in the Box restaurants, and the favorable impact of recent acquisitions of Qdoba franchised restaurants.