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Jack in the Box Says Profit Dips

November 08, 2001|Times Wire Services

Jack in the Box Inc., operator of a fast-food hamburger chain, said fiscal fourth-quarter profit fell 52% as food and utilities costs rose.

Net income fell to $20.7 million, or 52 cents a share, from $43 million, or $1.09, a year earlier, when earnings were boosted by a $22.9-million tax benefit. Sales rose 12% to $441.2 million in the quarter ended Sept. 30, the company said.

Jack in the Box paid more for beef, labor and energy in California, where about half of its nearly 1,800 restaurants are. Gross profit, or revenue less the cost of goods sold, narrowed to 18.7% of sales from 19.9% a year earlier, Jack in the Box said.

"The big pressure point on this company is margin," said David Geraty, a RBC Capital Markets analyst who rates Jack in the Box a long-term "buy."

Sales at Jack in the Box restaurants open at least a year were little changed in September.

Shares of Jack in the Box, based in San Diego, rose 15 cents to $24.65 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Excluding an accounting change related to how the firm recognizes certain franchise revenue, Jack in the Box said it would have earned $19.9 million, or 50 cents a share.

Other earnings, excluding one-time gains or charges unless noted, include:

* Alliance Imaging Inc., an Anaheim provider of diagnostic imaging services, reported third-quarter net income of $4 million, or 9 cents a share. Revenue increased 8% to $95.4 million.

* Micro General Corp., a Santa Ana designer of software escrow programs, said profit for the third quarter climbed to a record $3.1 million, or 18 cents a share, from $1.1 million, or 7 cents a share, for the same period last year. Revenue increased 20% to $34.2 million.

* California Coastal Communities Inc., a residential land development company based in Irvine, reported that third-quarter net income was unchanged, at $1 million, or 10 cents a share. Revenue increased 3% to $7.4 million.

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