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William Koziel, Così's Chief Financial Officer, says, "Comparable restaurant sales in the first quarter of 2007, as measured for restaurants in operation for more than 15 months, decreased 2.4 percent compared to the first quarter of 2006. The comparable restaurant sales decline was the result of a combination of unusually severe weather during the quarter and a difficult comparison to our strong same-store sales performance of 5.3 percent in the first quarter of 2006, which was our strongest quarter of growth last year."
Additionally, Così reported that it expects a first quarter loss per share of approximately $.11 excluding the effect of stock-based compensation expense as a result of the lower than expected comparable sales performance and the effect of new restaurants that have not yet reached operational efficiency.
"The recent quarter over quarter restaurant environment was challenging," Koziel added. "However, we continue to focus on executing our key drivers of long-term success, which remain franchise recruitment and development, company-owned restaurant development and maintaining strong operating disciplines."
Così said that it opened three company-owned locations and six franchise locations during the quarter. At the end of the 2007 first quarter, Così operated 113 company-owned restaurants and 19 franchise locations. The company added that it currently has secured commitments from 33 franchise area developers for 378 Così restaurants excluding 20 locations already opened.
Così expects to report first quarter results after the market close on May 10, 2007, and host a teleconference and webcast at 5:00 p.m. EST on that day to discuss the company's results for the quarter.
A replay will be available following the call until 12:00 A.M. EST on May 17, 2007. To access the replay, call 888-286-8010 in the U.S., or 617-801-6888 outside of the U.S., and reference the code 72197592.