Popeyes 4Q net rises on sales, new openings

AFC Enterprises Inc., parent to the 1,977-unit Popeyes quick-service chicken chain, reported a 10-percent increase in fourth-quarter net income, driven by new unit openings and positive same-store sales trends.

For the quarter ended Dec. 26, AFC’s net income totaled $4.4 million, or 18 cents per share, compared with $4.0 million, or 16 cents per share, in the same fourth quarter a year earlier. Latest-quarter revenue rose 5.4 percent to $34.2 million. Same-store sales increased 6.2 percent for all domestic restaurants, including a 9.2-percent increase at corporate restaurants and a 6.1-percent increase at franchised units. Same-store sales results were negative in the fourth quarter of 2009.

The Popeyes system opened 106 restaurants and permanently closed 67 restaurants in 2010, resulting in 39 net openings. In 2009, Popeyes opened 14 net restaurants. Its system now includes 1,580 U.S.-based restaurants and 397 international locations.

For the full year, AFC’s earnings totaled $22.9 million, or 90 cents per share, compared with 2009 earnings of $18.8 million, or 74 cents per share. Latest-year revenue fell 1.1 percent to $146.4 million. Domestic same-store sales rose 2.5 percent. International same-store sales increased 3.1 percent.

Looking into 2011, AFC said it expects Popeyes’ global same-store sales to increase between 1 percent and 3 percent. Accounting for both openings and closings, the Popeyes chain will open between 40 and 80 net new restaurants, it said.

Contact Sarah Lockyer at [email protected]