Industry News | February 4, 2009

CKE Ignores Competition, Wins Big

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CKE Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:CKR - News) announced today same-store sales for its Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s brands for fiscal year ended Jan. 26, 2009, increased 1.7 percent, its sixth-consecutive year of positive blended same-store sales.

“Our brands continue to appeal to our existing consumer base as well as new consumers who have traded down from casual dining chains,” says CEO Andrew F. Puzder. “Even in today’s challenging economic environment, consumers realize the value of our premium quality menu offerings.”

“Full-year blended same-store sales increased 1.7 percent on top of last year’s 1.5 percent increase, for a two-year cumulative same-store sales increase of 3.2 percent. For the full fiscal year, Carl’s Jr. recorded a same-store sales increase of 2.1 percent on top of last year’s 0.9 percent increase. This represents the brand’s ninth consecutive year of positive same-store sales. Hardee’s achieved a same-store sales increase of 1.2 percent over a 2.0 percent same-store sales increase in the prior year. This represents the chain’s third consecutive year of positive same-store sales and fifth annual positive same-store sales increase over the past six years.”

“At the end of fiscal 2009, our blended average unit volume was $1,232,000, a $70,000 increase over fiscal 2008. Average unit volume at Carl’s Jr. was $1,528,000, a $35,000 per unit increase since the end of fiscal 2008,” says Puzder. “Hardee’s average unit volume at the end of fiscal 2009 was $993,000, a $39,000 per unit increase over the end of fiscal 2008 and the highest average unit volume since we acquired the brand more than a decade ago.”

“Fourth quarter blended same-store sales increased 0.3 percent, our thirteenth consecutive quarter of positive blended same-store sales. Hardee’s fourth quarter same-store sales increased 1.5 percent on top of a 0.4 percent increase in the prior year quarter. During the quarter, Hardee’s featured its 100 percent Black Angus beef Little Thickburgers, a quarter-pound sized version of our standard one-third pound Thickburger. Same-store sales at Carl’s Jr. decreased 0.6 percent for the fourth quarter versus a 1.4 percent increase in the prior year quarter. We believe cooler, wetter weather in our core southern California market impacted Carl’s Jr.’s sales. In addition, a decline in consumer spending combined with our competitors’ deep discounting strategies has impacted sales at both brands. We have declined to engage in such deep discounting to maintain our premium-quality food positioning and our profitability.”

“While we are also focused on driving same-store sales, our strategy involves distinguishing our brands as serving premium-quality products for a reasonable price with great service in a clean and comfortable restaurant supported by cutting edge advertising. While we do have value products on our menus, our focus on premium products has resulted in a decline in ‘value’ consumers as virtually all of our competitors simultaneously pursue their business. We believe competing with virtually every other fast-food brand for these least loyal and least profitable of consumers would be counterproductive on both a short-term and a long-term basis.”

“Period 13 blended same-store sales increased 0.1 percent, versus a 1.5 percent decrease in the prior year period. Same-store sales at Carl’s Jr. decreased 0.2 percent versus a 1.3 percent decrease in the prior year period. During the period, Carl’s Jr. promoted the Charbroiled Steak Sandwich and Big Country Breakfast Burrito. Hardee’s same-store sales increased 0.7 percent versus a 1.8 percent decrease in the prior year period. Hardee’s introduced the Chicken Parmesan sandwich on Jan. 19 and continued to feature the Ham & Three Cheese Breakfast Burrito and Country Potatoes during the breakfast daypart.”

News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by QSR, Food News Media, or Journalistic, Inc.