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UPDATE 2-Texas Roadhouse April comp sales slip, shares fall
May 3, 2010 / 8:39 PM / in 8 years

UPDATE 2-Texas Roadhouse April comp sales slip, shares fall

* Q1 EPS $0.27 vs est $0.23

* Revenue up 6 pct, beats market * Comp restaurant sales rise 0.4 pct at co restaurants

* Raises 2010 earnings view

* Shares fall 5 pct in extended trade (Adds analysts’ estimates, comments, conference call details)

BANGALORE, May 3 (Reuters) - Texas Roadhouse Inc’s (TXRH.O) quarterly results topped analysts’ estimates on lower commodity costs, but the casual dining chain said April comparable restaurant sales fell slightly, sending its shares down 5 percent after the bell.

Investors would be concerned about “a return to” negative comps in April, RBC Capital Markets analyst Larry Miller wrote in a note.

Miller, however, said same-store sales would turn “solidly positive” by the second half of this year and continue to produce upside earnings.

The positive-negative trend in March and April may be explained by the Easter shift, he said.

For fiscal 2010, however, Texas Roadhouse expects earnings growth of 14 to 18 percent, up from its prior view of 5 to 10 percent growth.

It now sees same-store sales to range from flat to up 1 percent for 2010, compared with its earlier forecast of a fall of 2 percent to flat. The company, which specializes in steaks and promotes a western theme at its restaurants, said it anticipates a continued favorable commodities environment for the rest of 2010. On a conference call with analysts, a company executive said he expects food cost deflation would be less for 2010, compared with the first quarter.

“We anticipate food costs deflation will be the lowest in the second quarter due to the way we purchased some of our proteins this year,” he added.

The company also signed its first international franchise agreement to develop 35 restaurants in eight countries over the next 10 years.

For the latest first quarter, Texas Roadhouse earned $19.2 million, or 27 cents a share, up from $14.3 million, or 20 cents a share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 6 percent to $259.6 million. Analysts on average expected earnings of 23 cents a share, before items, on revenue of $253.4 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Comparable restaurant sales rose 0.4 percent at company restaurants and 0.9 percent at franchise restaurants.

Restaurant margins rose 218 basis points to 20.1 percent for the first quarter.

Shares of the Louisville, Kentucky-based casual dining chain fell 75 cents to $14.64 in extended trade. They closed at $15.39 Monday on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Renju Jose in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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