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"We continue to focus on building a brand that promises a restaurant experience consumers want and need," said Robert J. Nugent, president and CEO of Jack in the Box Inc. "We will seek smart solutions to opportunities that are practical and results-driven, focusing on product quality and service."
First quarter company restaurant sales improved nearly 17 percent to $448 million from $384 million in last year's first quarter. Systemwide sales grew more than 14 percent to about $569 million. Total revenues increased more than 17 percent to nearly $477 million, compared with $407 million. Same-store sales at company restaurants increased 5.7 percent in the first quarter compared with the first quarter of fiscal 1999. Of that amount, customer visits were up 3.4 percent, while the average check rose 2.3 percent.
Same-store sales have now risen in every quarter for five consecutive years.
The company's restaurant operating margin also increased in the first quarter to 19.4 percent, compared with 19.1 percent in the first quarter of last year.
During the quarter, Jack in the Box opened 34 new company restaurants, for a total of 1,225 company units. Said Nugent, "We continue to pursue a strategy of managed growth toward becoming a national brand." The company plans to open new company restaurants at a rate of about 10 percent a year, he added.
Jack in the Box opened six restaurants in three new markets this quarter: Charlotte, Nashville and Baton Rouge. About 30 new restaurants are expected to be opened in the Southeast by the end of the fiscal year.
Also during the quarter, the company repurchased 127,800 shares of stock for $2.4 million at an average price of $19 per share. Jack in the Box had previously announced that it may purchase as much as $10 million worth of company stock.
Jack in the Box operates and franchises more than 1,550 restaurants and has systemwide sales of $1.8 billion. Headquartered in San Diego, the company has 39,000 employees and operates in 14 states.