Cheesecake Factory 4Q sales improve

CALABASAS HILLS Calif. The Cheesecake Factory Inc. ended the year on an upswing with better-than-expected sales trends in the fourth quarter, which the company said Tuesday was driven almost entirely by increased guest traffic.

For the quarter ended Dec. 29, systemwide same-store sales fell 0.9 percent from a year ago when the chain posted a 7.1-percent decline. The Cheesecake Factory had previously forecast a same-store sales slide between 2 percent and 3 percent.

By concept, the company’s namesake brand posted a same-store sales decline of 0.7 percent for the fourth quarter, and Grand Lux Café’s same-store sales fell 3.9 percent.

Improvements also were made from the third quarter, when same-store sales fell 2.4 percent at The Cheesecake Factory and declined 6 percent at Grand Lux Café.

“We delivered a strong finish to the year with a significant improvement in comparable restaurant sales relative to the third quarter of fiscal 2009, driven almost entirely by guest traffic,” said David Overton, chairman and chief executive. “This is our fourth consecutive quarter of improving comparable-restaurant sales, which speaks to our operational execution, highly differentiated concepts and the affinity consumers have for our brands.”

Revenues for the quarter totaled $401 million, compared with $400 million in the year-ago fourth quarter.

Full results are expected on Feb. 11.

Calabasas Hills, Calif.-based The Cheesecake Factory Inc. operates 146 namesake restaurants, as well as 13 locations of Grand Lux Café and one RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen.

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