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P.F. Chang's 4Q profit rises

Same-store sales up at both brands as price hikes offset traffic declines

P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Inc. reported Wednesday a 22-percent increase in fourth-quarter profit and higher same-store sales at both of its concepts.

For the quarter ended Jan. 2, P.F. Chang’s net income totaled $14.7 million, or 64 cents per share, compared with $12 million, or 52 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Revenue declined 4.7 percent to $311.2 million, compared with $326.7 million in last year’s quarter, which included one more operating week.

Same-store sales in the quarter increased 0.1 percent at the casual-dining Bistro, with average tickets up 1 percent and traffic down 0.9 percent. P.F. Chang’s said a menu price increase helped offset traffic declines brought on by severe winter weather in December.

Same-store sales at the fast-casual Pei Wei Asian Diner rose 1.3 percent, reflecting an average ticket increase of 2.2 percent and traffic declines of 0.9 percent. The company said check averages benefited from a price increase as well as incremental sales from the chain’s small-plates menu and more online ordering.

David E. Tarantino, a securities analyst with R.W. Baird, said in an advisory that P.F.Chang’s earnings per share of 64 cents in the fourth quarter “topped our estimate, consensus and implied guidance of 57 cents, largely due to a favorable tax rate variance (added 8 cents).”

For the full fiscal 2010, P.F. Change’s net income rose 7.9 percent, to $46.6 million, or $2.02 per share, from $43.2 million, or $1.85 per share, in the prior-year period. Revenue for the year increased 1.2 percent, to $1.24 billion from $1.23 billion in 2009.

At the end of the quarter, the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company had 201 Bistro units and 168 Pei Wei stores.

P.F. Chang’s, which earlier this week named Lane Cardwell president of its flagship brand, said it expects to open three to five Bistro restaurants and six to eight Pei Wei units in 2011. The company also said price increases at both brands will help offset higher commodity and labor costs this year.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected].

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