Occupancy and other costs increased 30 basis points in the fourth quarter due primarily to higher utilities and repairs and maintenance costs, higher debit card fees and higher depreciation expense related to the Jack in the Box re-image program. These increases were partially offset by 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.
SG&A expense for the fourth quarter increased by $0.6 million and was 15.2 percent of revenues as compared to 14.6 percent in the prior year quarter. The increase in SG&A was attributable primarily to higher incentive compensation accruals, increased G&A related to Qdoba growth, and higher pension and pre-opening costs which were partially offset by lower advertising and overhead costs resulting from the company’s refranchising strategy. Mark-to-market adjustments on investments supporting the company’s non-qualified retirement plans positively impacted SG&A by $2.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2012 as compared to a negative impact of $4.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Gains on the sale of 42 company-operated Jack in the Box restaurants to franchisees totaled $10.2 million in the fourth quarter, or approximately $0.16 per diluted share, compared with $22.2 million, or approximately $0.30 per diluted share in the year-ago quarter from the sale of 106 restaurants. For fiscal 2012, gains on the sale of 97 company-operated restaurants to franchisees totaled $29.1 million, or approximately $0.44 per diluted share, compared with $61.1 million, or approximately $0.78 per diluted share in fiscal 2011 from the sale of 332 company-operated restaurants. Total proceeds related to refranchising for the fourth quarter and fiscal 2012 were $19.1 million and $48.3 million, respectively.
The tax rate for fiscal 2012 was 32.7 percent versus 36.3 percent for fiscal 2011. The tax rate for fiscal 2012 was lower than the company’s most recent guidance due primarily to the market performance of insurance investment products used to fund certain non-qualified retirement plans. Changes in the cash value of the insurance products are not deductible or taxable.
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