(Adds executive comment, 2014 sales and EPS forecasts)
Oct 23 Brinker International Inc
reported fiscal first-quarter results that missed analysts'
estimates, hurt by a bigger-than-expected decline in same-store
sales at its Chili's Grill & Bar chain.
Shares in Dallas-based Brinker fell 5.8 percent to $39.74 in
midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday.
Chili's and other full-service U.S. restaurants are
struggling to compete with chains such as Chipotle Mexican Grill
and Panera Bread Co, which offer frugal diners
high-quality meals at lower prices. The full-service restaurant
category, also known as casual dining, has been aggressively
promoting deals to lure diners but success has been limited.
Darden Restaurants Inc, owner of the Olive Garden
and Red Lobster chains, reported dismal results for the latest
quarter. Ruby Tuesday Inc posted a larger-than-expected
loss and a steep decline in same-restaurant sales.
"The malaise we have seen in the category didn't let up this
quarter," Brinker Chief Executive Wyman Roberts said on a
conference call with analysts. "Our primary focus for the
remainder of fiscal 2014 is growing sales."
Among other things the company plans to continue introducing
new food, working to increase its delivery and to-go business
and spend more money on marketing, renovations and new
Sales at Brinker-owned Chili's restaurants open for at least
18 months fell 1.6 percent in the first quarter ended Sept. 25,
more than the 0.7 percent decline analysts had expected,
according to Consensus Metrix.
Same-restaurant sales at its Maggiano's Little Italy chain
rose 0.6 percent, in line with analysts' estimates.
Brinker's net income rose to $29.2 million, or 42 cents per
share, in the quarter, from $27.9 million, or 36 cents per
share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, it earned 43 cents per share, falling short
of the average analyst estimate of 45 cents per share, according
to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Total revenue was flat at $683.9 million, but also fell
short of analysts' estimates of $685.9 million.
Brinker forecast fiscal 2014 same-restaurant sales that are
down 1 percent to up 1 percent. It also forecast full-year
earnings in the range of $2.65 to $2.75 per share.
(Reporting by Maria Ajit Thomas in Bangalore and Lisa Baertlein
in Los Angeles; Editing by Kirti Pandey, Savio D'Souza and Nick