Chinese restaurant chain

P.F. Chang's

(PFCB)

raised its fourth-quarter earnings outlook Thursday, citing strong customer traffic growth.

The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company said it expects to post a profit of 25 cents a share on $115.9 million in revenue, a 30% increase from its year-ago mark of $89.3 million in sales. Wall Street analysts, on average, were expecting the company to earn 24 cents a share on revenue of $115.4 million.

Sales at the company's P.F. Chang's China Bistro restaurants totaled $107.6 million while sales at the company's Pei Wei Asian Diner locations accounted for $8.3 million. Same-store sales for the quarter at the Bistro increased 5.4% from year-ago levels.

The increase was entirely attributable to customer traffic growth, the company said in a press release. Comparable-store sales increased 6.8% for the five-week period ending Nov. 3, 6.1% for the four-week period ending Dec. 1 and 3.1% for the four-week period ending Dec. 29. Additionally, year-over-year sales growth for all Bistro units open prior to 2002 was 4.9%, just shy of the company's 5% growth target.

The company is scheduled to release its fourth-quarter earnings on Feb. 12 before the start of trading. Its shares were trading up $1.79, or 4.9%, at $38.10 around midday. The stock turned in a stellar performance in 2002, trading up 54%.