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"We continue to achieve earnings and sales targets due to our ongoing guest focus, offering high quality food, service and promotions that benefit the consumer," said CEO Robert J. Nugent.
During the quarter ended January 21, company restaurant sales grew 13 percent to $506.5 million, while total revenues reached nearly $541 million, a 13.4 percent improvement compared with the first quarter a year ago. Systemwide sales improved almost 11 percent to $631 million.
Same-store sales in the first quarter were 4.3 percent higher than in the comparable quarter a year earlier. Of that amount, the average check increased 3.4 percent, while customer visits improved .9 percent. It was the company's 24th consecutive quarter of year-to-year, same-store sales growth.
Restaurant operating margins remained steady at 19.4 percent in the first quarter compared with the same quarter a year earlier. "We were pleased to maintain our margins despite increases in labor and utility costs," Nugent said.
Jack in the Box opened 32 new restaurants during the quarter for a total of 1,346 company restaurants, and expects to open about 130 new company restaurants during the fiscal year. Of those, about 30 new units are expected to open in the new southeastern region, the company reported. Added Nugent: ``We will be opening the Greenville/Spartanburg, S.C. market later this year. To best manage that growth, we've decided to make Charlotte, Nashville and Greenville/Spartanburg its own region - our 11th systemwide. It will be headed by Jeff Foster, who has been with the company for more than 20 years in our Houston market."