Carl’s Jr. comps fall 7% in March

CARPINTERIA Calif. Continuing a string of negative monthly sales trends, the Carl’s Jr. chain posted a 7-percent drop in same-store sales for the four weeks ended March 23, a result of the weak California economy, discounting by competitors, and a tough year-earlier comparison, parent company CKE Restaurants Inc. said Wednesday.

“We are working diligently to get Carl’s Jr. back on the positive same-store sales track to which we are accustomed, although the poor condition of the California economy, which is worse than most other states, makes growing sales particularly difficult at this time,” said Andrew Puzder, CKE chief executive.

New products introduced this month are expected to help boost sales, including Carl’s Jr.’s new Kentucky Bourbon Burger, which debuted March 11, and the Jumbo Chili Dogs, a value-priced item available for a recommended $3 for two.

Carl’s Jr. same-store sales decline was compared with a year-earlier increase of 6 percent, which CKE said was the most difficult sales comparison of the year. The chain has posted declining same-store sales trends each month so far this year.

Sister brand Hardee’s reported a same-store sales increase of 3.1 percent for the four weeks ended March 23, compared with a decline of 2.1 percent in the same month a year earlier. In March, Hardee’s promoted the Chicken Parmesan sandwich and its Little Thickburgers at lunch and dinner, and introduced the Texas Toast Breakfast Sandwiches during the morning daypart.

Blended same-store sales for both brands dropped 2.7 percent and total revenue for the four weeks totaled $86.8 million. CKE operates or franchises 1,195 Carl’s Jr. and 1,908 Hardee’s restaurants.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected] [3].