Ruby Tuesday Posts Higher Earnings - TheStreet

Ruby Tuesday Posts Higher Earnings

The company sets a 60-cent charge for an accounting change related to a consolidation.
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Ruby Tuesday

(RI)

reported a rise in fourth-quarter profits, and topped analysts' estimates, but said it will take at a charge of at least 60 cents a share in the coming year for a consolidation.

The company also provided updated full-year and first-quarter 2004 expectations. The shares fell $1.04, or 4.2%, to $23.46.

The company said it earned 39 cents a share during the quarter, up 21.9% from last year's 32 cents a share. Analysts were expecting the company to earn 37 cents a share. Net income was $25.32 million, compared with $21.25 million in the year-ago quarter. The company cited the success of a recently released menu.

System-wide revenue was $345 million, an increase from the company's prior-year total of $309.2 million. The company also said gross same-store sales increased 4.5% and net same-store sales rose 1.7%.

Due to a consolidation of its franchise partnerships, Ruby Tuesday said it will take a one-time charge of 60 cents to 62 cents a share on full-year 2004 earnings as a result of the cumulative effect of a change in accounting principle.

For 2004, the company reiterated its expected EPS growth estimate of 17% to 18% on revenue of $1.4 billion to $1.45 billion, excluding the expected charge, and based on a gross same-store sales rise of 2% to 3% at company-owned Ruby Tuesday restaurants. The company also anticipates a net same-store sales growth of 1% to 2% for the year.

Analysts currently expect $1.57 a share for the year on revenue of $1.12 billion. The company earned $1.36 a share in 2003, which was 2 cents ahead of analysts' consensus.

In the first quarter, Ruby Tuesday expects to earn 36 cents a share, also excluding the charge, in line with analysts' consensus estimate. The EPS estimate is based on a 1% to 2% gross same-store increase. The company also estimates net same-store sales at company-owned restaurants will be flat to down 1%. The company earned 31 cents a share in the first quarter last year.