Profit Rises at Ruby Tuesday

Ruby Tuesday (RI) posted fourth-quarter earnings growth in line with Wall Street estimates, citing the addition of new restaurants, solid same-store sales increases and the introduction of the Smart Eating initiative.

In a press release after the bell Wednesday, the company said net income grew to $31 million, or 46 cents a share, from $29.6 million, or 39 cents a share, a year earlier.

The restaurant chain operator said sales rose to $275.5 million from $246.91 in the previous year, as the company's Eating Smart initiative continues to grow in popularity. The company said same-store sales growth of 1.3% was softer than expected.

For the first quarter of fiscal 2005, the company expects earnings per share to rise 22% on expected flat same-store sales.

For the next fiscal year, the company expects earnings to grow 16% to 17% with same-store sales growth of 1%. Further, the company expects to add 50 to 55 company-owned restaurants and another 35 to 40 franchise-owned branches.

Shares of Ruby Tuesday closed Wednesday at $27.64, down 17 cents, or 0.6%.

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