Applebee Earnings Slip

Revenue rises 13%.
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Restaurant operator

Applebee International

(APPB)

said its first-quarter earnings fell 14.2% from a year ago, hurt by impairment charges and option expenses.

The Overland Park, Kan.-based company earned $27.2 million, or 36 cents a share, compared with $31.7 million, or 38 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding impairment and other restaurants closure costs and stock option expenses, earnings were 43 cents a share in the most recent quarter. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 33 cents a share.

Revenue in the first quarter grew 13.1% from a year ago to $344.3 million as against analysts' estimate of $343.9 million. Domestic comparable sales for the first quarter rose 2.6%.

For the full year the company expects to earn $1.26 to $1.30 a share, excluding impairment charges, but including the impact of stock-based compensation expense. Analysts expect the company to earn $1.29 a share.

The company expects to open over 120 new restaurants this year.

"Our first-quarter results, while not consistent with our long-term goals, were generally in line with our expectations," the company said. "We did not expect to see significant improvement in our results early in the year because the majority of our key initiatives for 2006 are just now rolling out."

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