Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s see sales slip in June, July

CARPINTERIA Calif. Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s both saw company-store same-store sales slip during June and July, but officials with parent company CKE Restaurants Inc. on Wednesday said they nonetheless were encouraged by the success of recent product promotions.

For the four weeks ended July 13, same-store sales at company-owned Carl’s Jr. restaurants were down 6.1 percent, compared with an increase of 4.9 percent for the same period last year. At Hardee’s, same-store sales dropped 3.6 percent, compared with a year-ago increase of 5.7 percent.

Blended same-store sales were down 5 percent, compared with the prior-year period’s increase of 5.2 percent, officials said Wednesday.

Total revenues for company-owned units dropped by $3 million to $86.4 million for the period, but officials noted that the decline was driven in part by the refranchising of several Hardee’s units since last year along with the slippage in same-store sales.

The chains both faced difficult comparisons with the previous year as well as deep discounting by competitors — a move that CKE Restaurants has been reluctant to make.

Still, Andrew Puzder, CKE’s chief executive, said he was encouraged by the success of the company’s sexy commercial starring bikini-clad actress Audrina Patridge eating a Teriyaki Burger from Carl’s Jr. Since the commercial began airing in late June, the burger has been among the best-selling premium products on the menu, he said.

The company has also been testing the sale of Hardee’s Made-From-Scratch biscuits at a Carl’s Jr. location in Buena Park, Calif., to help build breakfast sales. Puzder said the test would be expanded to a wider group of restaurants — though it will require the addition of ovens.

During the period, Carl’s Jr. also ran a limited-time two-for-$4 deal on its Western Bacon Cheeseburger, supported by a commercial featuring curvaceous “Top Chef” star Padma Lakshmi, which Puzder said has increased sales substantially. “Given current commodity costs, our profit margin at the two-for-$4 price point is still very good,” he said.

Hardee’s also promoted a sweet value-priced breakfast item called “Biscuit Holes,” for which the company invited guests to come up with an alternative name.

Puzder said he has also been encouraged by opening sales at new restaurants.

“A franchisee-owned Carl’s Jr. in Douglas, Ariz., set a new record for first week sales at $108,596,” said Puzder. “Despite the continuing tough economy, Carl’s Jr. is setting sales records in new and existing markets, continuing to grow its unit count and giving customers what they want — premium quality burgers at fair prices.”

As of May 18, the end of the first quarter, CKE Restaurants operated or franchised 1,205 Carl’s Jr. and 1,915 Hardee’s locations.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected] [3]