UPDATE 2-Texas Roadhouse Q4 profit tops estimates

Mon Feb 22, 2010 6:34pm EST

* Q4 EPS $0.12 vs est $0.10

* Revenue $227.4 mln vs est $221.8 mln

* Sees FY 2010 EPS growth of 5-10 pct (Adds conference call details and analyst's comments; updates share movement)

By Renju Jose

BANGALORE, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Texas Roadhouse Inc's (TXRH.O) quarterly results beat Wall Street expectations on lower commodity costs, and the casual dining chain raised the lower end of its earnings outlook for fiscal 2010.

The company, which specializes in steaks and promotes a western theme at its restaurants, expects earnings to rise 5 to 10 percent for fiscal 2010, up from its prior view of flat to 10 percent growth.

The outlook seem to be "somewhat conservative," given that they may see better same-store sales in 2010, Oppenheimer analyst Matthew DiFrisco said over phone.

The company had completed 2009 with 30 percent earnings growth, but has only projected a 5 percent to 10 percent growth rate this year, DiFrisco said.

"While it has been challenging to get a good read on sales here at the beginning of 2010, particularly with weather related issues, it certainly does not seem like things are getting any worse," Chief Executive G.J. Hart said on a call with analysts.

Hart said bad weather led to more closure days and definitely impacted the company. "We did not quantify it, but we know it had an impact on us."

Analyst DiFrisco said the weather impact has already been embedded in the company's forecast.

"Take away weather, fundamental trends are strong and improving," he said.

For the first seven weeks of fiscal 2010, same-store restaurant sales fell about 1.2 percent. It sees same-store sales to range between a fall of 2 percent to flat for 2010.

Texas Roadhouse also said it extended the term of its key executives, including its chief executive and chief financial officer, till January 2012, with no changes to annual base salary and target bonuses.

For the fourth quarter, Texas Roadhouse earned $8.7 million, or 12 cents a share, compared with $6.1 million, or 9 cents a share, a year ago.

Revenue fell 3 percent to $227.4 million for the quarter.

Analysts were expecting earnings of 10 cents a share on revenue of $221.8 million.

Shares of the Louisville, Kentucky-based restaurant chain closed at $13.00 Monday on Nasdaq. (Editing by Anil D'Silva)

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