Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc.’s fourth-quarter systemwide same-store sales rose 11.8% from a year ago, and the company said it backed 2003 earnings guidance of 65 cents a share, matching a Thomson First Call mean estimate by eight analysts.

Among company-owned stores, comparable-store sales rose 14.3% for the fourth quarter. Comparable-store sales for area developer and associate franchise stores rose 8.3% and 10.7%, respectively, during the period.

For fiscal 2004, the company expects overall comparable-store sales growth to average 10%, with each quarter slightly above or below 10%.

Krispy Kreme also expects fiscal 2004 earnings of 88 cents a share, above a First Call mean estimate of 84 cents a share by eight analysts.

For the year ended Feb. 3, 2002, the company earned $26.4 million, or 45 cents a share.

New York Stock Exchange-listed shares of Krispy Kreme closed Thursday at $ 28.40, down 15 cents, or 0.5%.

News, Krispy Kreme