Interest expense, net was $0.8 million compared to $0.7 million last year.
Income tax expense was $5.6 million at an effective tax rate of 38.4%, compared to an effective tax rate of 33.7% in 2012. The higher effective tax rates are primarily due to higher state income taxes in 2013 and the recognition of worker opportunity tax credits and foreign income taxes in 2012. The effective tax rates differ from statutory rates due to credits and permanent differences between reported income before income taxes and taxable income for tax purposes.
Reported net income grew to $9.0 million, or $0.37 per diluted share, compared to $6.9 million, or $0.29 per diluted share, in 2012. Through the end of the third quarter, reported net income was $27.1 million or $1.12 per diluted share, versus $21.8 million or $0.89 per diluted share, last year.
Adjusted earnings per diluted share were $0.38 compared to $0.29 last year. This improvement was primarily due to stronger same-store sales and higher average new restaurant sales. Through the end of the third quarter, adjusted earnings per diluted share were $1.13 compared to $0.91, representing a 24.2% increase over last year.Free cash flow through the end of the third quarter was $33.2 million compared to $26.3 million in 2012. As a percentage of Total Revenue, Free Cash Flow was 21.1% compared to 20.0% last year. During the third quarter, the Company repurchased approximately 156,000 shares of its common stock for approximately $6.5 million. Through the end of the third quarter, the Company has repurchased approximately 390,000 shares of common stock for approximately $15.0 million. During the third quarter, the Popeyes system opened 39 restaurants, which included 23 domestic and 16 international. The Popeyes system permanently closed 6 restaurants, including 1 domestic and 5 international. Through the third quarter, Popeyes opened 123 restaurants and permanently closed 46 restaurants, resulting in 77 net openings, compared to 23 net openings in 2012.
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