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Buffalo Wild Wings comps rise in 3Q, dip in 4Q

Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. reported Tuesday a 24-percent gain in third-quarter profit, on a sales spike aided by promotional support coinciding with the kickoff of the college and professional football seasons as well as new restaurant openings.

The company noted, however, that initial same-store sales results for the first four weeks of the fourth quarter fell 0.7 percent at corporate locations and 1.7 percent at franchised restaurants.

“With sustained efforts to drive traffic throughout the football season, combined with higher media spending, we believe we can achieve at least flat same-store sales at company-owned restaurants for the fourth quarter and accomplish our 2010 net-earnings goal of 20-percent growth for the year,” said Buffalo Wild Wings chief executive Sally Smith.

Those initial monthly results compared with same-stores sales gains of 5.9 percent at corporate locations and 3.8 percent at franchised restaurants for the same four-week time frame a year earlier.

For the Sept. 26-ended third quarter Buffalo Wild Wings earned $8.5 million, or 47 cents per share, compared with earnings of $6.9 million, or 38 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago.

Total revenue in the latest quarter increased 14 percent to $151.3 million. Same-store sales rose 2.6 percent at corporate units and 0.3 percent at franchised locations. The company also opened 24 new restaurants during the quarter.

“We continue to be a leader in the industry, and our focus on execution and profitability again produced strong year-over-year growth in units, revenue and net earnings,” Smith said.

She added that the parent company to the 701-unit chain plans to open another 15 corporate locations and 17 franchised restaurants in the fourth quarter, which would put Buffalo Wild Wings on track to meet its 13-percent unit-growth goal for 2010.

Minneapolis-based Buffalo Wild Wings plans to open more than 100 new locations next year, which would be a 13-percent increase in system size.

“With this unit growth and our persistent focus on operational excellence and strong restaurant-level economics,” Smith said, “we believe we can achieve over 18-percent net-earnings growth in 2011.”

Contact Mark Brandau at [email protected].

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