The Cheesecake Factory Inc. faulted Hurricane Irene for third-quarter losses, saying the storm took a significant toll on its restaurants over the summer, according to the company’s third-quarter earnings report.
Net income declined 6.3 percent for the quarter ended Sept. 27 to $20.6 million, or 36 cents per share, compared with $22 million, or 37 cents per share, for the same period a year ago. According to Thomson Reuters, analysts expected earnings of 38 cents per share.
Revenue for the quarter totaled $430.4 million, a 2.9-percent increase compared with $418.4 million in the year-ago period.
Blended same-store sales for the company’s namesake brand and sister chain Grand Lux Café rose 0.8 percent.
The company blamed Hurricane Irene, a massive storm that hit the East Coast in August, for a 0.4 percent impact on sales. Excluding the weather, same-store sales would have been up 1.2 percent, the company said.
EARLIER: Hurricane Irene gone, effects remain 
Separated by brand, The Cheesecake Factory’s same-store sales increased 0.8 percent, while Grand Lux Café sales were up 0.9 percent.
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The company marked its seventh consecutive quarter of positive same-store sales, said The Cheesecake Factory Inc. chairman and chief executive David Overton, adding that the company is managing the business well, despite the environment.
“Apart from ongoing elevated food costs, our profitability is improving as our operators and corporate team effectively manage expenses in a way that simultaneously maximizes the guest experience, invests in the areas that will support the growth of our company, and leverages our fixed costs,” he said in a statement.
“Our new restaurants are opening to long wait times and above-average sales volumes, further contributing to our growth,” he added. “This demonstrates strong demand for our brand.”
Overton also noted The Cheesecake Factory’s ranking as a consumer favorite in a recent Market Force survey.
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The company opened five new restaurants so far this fiscal year, with another unit scheduled to open Thursday in Westchester County, N.Y., and a seventh new restaurant planned for early December.
The Calabasas Hills, Calif.-based Cheesecake Factory Inc. operates 154 Cheesecake Factory restaurants, as well as 13 Grand Lux Cafés and one RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen unit.