With a record 22 consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth, Jack in the Box Inc. (NYSE:JBX), operator and franchiser of Jack in the Box® restaurants, today reported record third-quarter earnings of $20.8 million, or 53 cents per diluted share, compared with $17.4 million, or 44 cents per diluted share, posted in the third quarter a year ago.

“Despite a tough industry environment as well as significant growth in our third quarter of last year, Jack in the Box increased same-store sales for the 22nd consecutive quarter, and third quarter earnings by 20 percent compared with last year to achieve another record performance,” said CEO Robert J. Nugent. “We intend to maintain our focus – delivering upon our brand promise of a great restaurant experience – because that is what our customers want. With a strong economy influencing consumers to purchase meals away from home at an increasing rate, we believe we can enjoy continued growth as long as we deliver upon consumer wants and needs.”

Company restaurant sales grew 12.5 percent to $364 million in the third quarter compared with a year ago, while total revenues increased 14 percent to $390 million. System-wide sales reached $455 million, an increase of 10.5 percent.

Same-store sales increased 2.6 percent during the third quarter, in addition to the 9.8 percent same-store sales growth achieved in last year’s third quarter. This time last year, the company had completed its assemble-to-order program, whereby sandwiches are assembled only after the customer has placed the order. Of the current 2.6 percent improvement, average check amounts grew 2.3 percent, while increases in customer visits accounted for the rest.

Restaurant operating margins remained steady at 20.6 percent during the third quarter, the same as a year ago.

Jack in the Box opened 26 new company restaurants during the quarter for a total of 1,282 company units, and remains on track to grow new company stores at a rate of about 10 percent a year, as it expands in both existing markets and new Southeastern markets.

“Our performance in the Southeast continues to exceed our expectations,” said Nugent, “and we expect to have at least 25 company restaurants open by the end of the fiscal year.” In addition to Charlotte, Nashville and Baton Rouge, Jack in the Box plans to enter the Greenville/Spartanburg, S.C. market next year, he added.

News, Jack in the Box