Hardee's sales grow, but Carl's Jr. still struggling

Hardee’s sales remained positive in late April and early May while those of sister brand Carl’s Jr. were still in negative territory as a result of the challenging economy in California, CKE Restaurants Inc. said Wednesday.

For the four weeks ended May 17, Carl’s Jr.’s same-store sales at company-owned units were down 5.2 percent, compared with a 6.2-percent decline for the same period a year ago. The core market for Carl’s Jr. is California, where unemployment rates remain high, the company noted.

At Hardee’s, a chain with stores primarily in the Midwest and Southeast, same-store sale at company stores were up 0.6 percent for the period, compared with flat sales a year ago.

For the full first quarter, same-store sales decreased 6.1 percent at Carl’s Jr. company units and fell 1.2 percent at Hardee’s company stores. Blended same-store sales for the quarter dropped 3.9 percent.

Andrew Puzder, CKE’s chief executive, said in a statement that CKE was committed to “protecting our brand image for the long run while trying to grow same-store sales in the short run” by introducing “excellent value-for-the-money” premium products and new initiatives to improve sales and build market share.

During the most recent four-week period, for example, Carl’s Jr. introduced a new Teriyaki Chicken sandwich, a chicken-based version of the Teriyaki Six Dollar Burger introduced last year.

Preliminary revenues for company-owned restaurants for the first quarter totaled $330.9 million, a decline of more than 3 percent from $343.1 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2010.

CKE, which is being acquired by an affiliate of Apollo Global Management, operates or franchises 1,224 Carl's Jr. restaurants and 1,905 Hardee's locations.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected]