Operating Income

Operating income was $45.3 million, or 7.2% of total revenue, in the first quarter of fiscal 2013 compared with $44.6 million, or 7.5% of total revenue, in the first quarter of the prior year. Adjusted for proxy contest and severance expenses, adjusted operating income was $49.2 million, or 7.8% of total revenue, in the first quarter of fiscal 2013, compared with adjusted operating income of $46.6 million, or 7.8% of total revenue, in the prior year quarter. Operating income in the first quarter of the prior year included a net benefit of $5.5 million, or 0.9% of total revenue, resulting collectively from a favorable premium adjustment related to health insurance, a reduction in worker’s compensation expense and a favorable litigation settlement, partially offset by expenses related to a non-annual companywide managers’ conference.

Diluted Earnings Per Share

On a GAAP basis, earnings per diluted share in the first quarter of fiscal 2013 were $0.97, compared with $1.03 in the prior year quarter. Adjusted for severance and proxy contest expenses, adjusted earnings per diluted share were $1.08, compared with adjusted earnings per diluted share of $1.09 in the prior year quarter. The effective income tax rate in the quarter increased to 33.0%, compared with 28.9% in the prior year quarter, due primarily to the expiration of the Work Opportunities Tax Credit. The higher tax rate in the quarter reduced earnings per diluted share by $0.06.

Commenting on the first-quarter results, Cracker Barrel President and Chief Executive Officer Sandra B. Cochran said, “We are pleased with our first quarter results, which represent our fourth consecutive quarter of increased year-over-year traffic and sales. This quarter’s results exceeded our expectations and reflect the operational improvements and general and administrative savings implemented in fiscal 2012 and the early execution by our management team and employees of our business priorities for fiscal 2013."

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