Carrols 1st-Q profit totals $1.6M

SYRACUSE N.Y. Carrols Restaurant Group Inc., franchisee to 337 Burger King restaurants and operator or franchisor to 77 Pollo Tropical and 141 Taco Cabana units, said its first-quarter profit increased just slightly from the year earlier as sales from its BK and other restaurants were negatively affected by winter weather in January and February.

For the quarter ended March 31, Carrols net income totaled $1.6 million versus year-ago profit of $1.5 million. Total revenues for the latest quarter increased 3.1 percent to $188.2 million. Quarterly same-store sales rose 1.1 percent at Burger King, but fell 0.1 percent and 0.9 percent at Pollo Tropical and Taco Cabana, respectively.

The company said January and February same-store sales were hurt by snowstorms in several of its Northeast markets, which affected sales at Burger King units, and by severe weather in Texas, which reduced sales at Taco Cabana. In March, however, Carrols reported sales improvements at all three concepts, with same-store sales up as much as 2.5 percent at the corporate brands and up 3.7 percent at Burger King.

Carrols' first-quarter pre-share profits totaled 7 cents per share, compared with a 10 cents per share profit in the year-ago quarter, when there was a lower outstanding share count. Carrols said per-share earnings in the year ago, fiscal 2006 quarter would have been 7 cents per share when using a pro forma share count to match the number of shares outstanding after its initial public offering last December.

Carrols latest quarter included a 4-cents-per-share, one-time charge related to the refinancing of the company's senior credit facility in March.