SCOTTSDALE Ariz. Kona Grill Inc., the operator of 20 casual-dining and sushi bar restaurants, reported Tuesday a fourth-quarter loss of $5.4 million on asset impairment charges and negative same-store sales.
For the quarter ended Dec. 31, Kona said its same-store sales fell 9.4 percent, compared with a 0.8-percent drop in the same quarter last year. Negative guest traffic was the culprit, the company said.
“Our fourth-quarter performance reflects one of the most challenging periods the restaurant industry has ever faced,” said Marcus E. Jundt, chief executive. “Despite this difficult economic environment, we continue to manage our business for the long-term, but with a near-term focus on driving sales, controlling costs and deploying available resources in the most prudent manner possible.”
Kona’s fourth-quarter net loss of $5.4 million, or 83 cents per share, compared with a loss of $883,000, or 14 cents per share, in the same quarter a year earlier. In the latest quarter, Kona booked an asset impairment charge of $3.2 million. It also recorded higher labor, occupancy and general and administrative costs. The company opened two restaurants in the quarter: one in West Palm Beach, Fla., and another in Phoenix, Ariz.
Fourth-quarter total sales, aided by the new restaurant openings, rose 6.4 percent to $18.6 million.
For the full year, Kona booked a loss of $10.5 million, or $1.60 per share, versus a loss of $669,000, or 11 cents per share, a year earlier. Fiscal 2008 sales rose 9.1 percent to $75.8 million, and reflected five new restaurants opened during the year. Annual same-store sales fell 7.2 percent.
For the current first quarter of 2009, Kona Grill forecast restaurant sales of between $18.3 million and $19.3 million and a net loss of between $1.4 million and $1.9 million. The company opened a store in Richmond, Va., on Jan. 22 and plans to open three others in this fiscal year: Woodbridge, N.J.; Eden Prairie, Minn.; and Tampa, Fla.