Restaurant Outlook Improving

Improved restaurant results expected for 1Q – Sarah E. Lockyer (Nation’s Restaurant News) – excerpt

NEW YORK (April  19, 2010) Restaurant companies releasing first-quarter results in the weeks ahead are expected to report improved sales trends, continued cost controls and a heightened sense that an industry recovery has begun, according to securities analysts.

While severe winter weather hurt sales trends at many chains in January and February, consumer spending increased in March, leaving many in the industry with a bit of spring fever. Companies including Brinker International, California Pizza Kitchen and Yum! Brands already have said first-quarter results were better than expected just months ago.

Analysts said they expect the majority of restaurant companies to beat earnings expectations for the first quarter and to increase corporate profit guidance for the remainder of 2010.

“We expect mostly positive restaurant earnings over the next two weeks,” Joe Buckley, securities analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said in a note to investors on Friday. “Strengthening sales trends and favorable costs – lower food [and] labor costs benefiting from low employee turnover, and lingering benefits from cost reduction or cost control programs – are a solid combination for earnings.”….

Read more: http://www.nrn.com/breakingNews.aspx?id=382256#ixzz0ljnOOh5W

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