Winter weather hurts CKE sales

CARPINTERIA Calif. CKE Restaurants Inc. reported mixed results for its two brands in February, with winter weather taking a toll at Hardee's but new products helping sales at Carl's Jr.

Blended same-store sales fell 4.2 percent for the four weeks ended Feb. 22, compared with a drop of 0.6 percent the same period last year, said CKE, which recently agreed to a$918 million acquisition offer [3] from a private-equity firm.

Carl’s Jr. saw same-store sales trends improve, with a drop of 2.6 percent in February, compared with a 3.6-percent decrease a year ago. CKE credited strong sales of the Grilled Cheese Bacon Burger and the new line of Grilled Chicken Salads for the improvement.

At Hardee’s, same-store sales dropped 6.2 percent, compared with a 3.2-percent increase the same period last year. Andrew Puzder, CKE's chief executive, blamed the difficult comparisons as well as severe winter weather in the Midwest and Southeast, Hardee’s core markets.

“We believe Hardee’s sales will benefit in the coming months from the launch and advertising campaign for the Grilled Cheese Bacon Burger,” said Puzder. “Regardless of when the overall economy turns around, we remain steadfastly focused on protecting our brand image for the long run, while trying to grow same-store sales in the short run.”

Revenues declined almost 2 percent at Carl’s Jr. to $46 million and dropped about 6 percent at Hardee’s to $34.7 million for the period.

The company also announced a franchise agreement to open 25 new Carl’s Jr. restaurants in Vietnam.

Based in Carpinteria, Calif., CKE Restaurants operates, licenses or franchises 1,221 Carl’s Jr. and 1,913 Hardee’s restaurants in 42 states and 14 countries.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected] [4].