Krispy Kreme's ( KKD) fourth-quarter net income roughly tripled from a year ago on a 36% jump in overall sales, and the doughnut purveyor guided 2005 earnings in line with estimates.

Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Krispy Kreme earned $16.4 million, or 26 cents a share, in the latest quarter compared with earnings of $5.6 million, or 9 cents a share, last year. The year-ago quarter included an expense for an arbitration award; before that, earnings were $11.3 million, or 19 cents a share.

The company reports numerous revenue metrics, the most significant being sales from company-owned stores, which rose 36% to $124.7 million. Total revenue, which includes sales from company stores, franchise stores, the company's manufacturing and distribution operation and Montana Mills, rose 35.7% to $185.5 million. Comparable company-owned store sales rose 10.7%, while comparable systemwide sales rose 9.1%.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson One Analytics were forecasting earnings of 26 cents a share in the quarter on total revenue of $184.2 million.

Krispy Kreme forecast fiscal 2005 earnings of $1.16 to $1.18 a share on systemwide comparable-store sales growth in the mid-to-high single digits. It expects systemwide sales to roughly 25% in fiscal 2005 and to open about 120 new stores systemwide.

Krispy Kreme's stock closed Tuesday at $38.16, roughly the midpoint of its 52-week range. It hadn't done any volume in Wednesday's premarket session.

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