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Ark's 4th-Q profit falls on higher costs

NEW YORK Ark Restaurants Corp., operator of 20 upscale restaurants and 30 quick-service locations, posted a 22-percent year-over-year drop in its fourth quarter profit as increased operating costs erased a 7-percent revenue gain.

For the quarter ended Sept. 27, Ark earned $2.0 million, or 56 cents per share, compared with earnings of $2.6 million, or 71 cents per share, in the year-earlier fourth quarter.

The company’s total expenses rose 10 percent in the latest quarter mainly from a jump in food and beverages costs and payroll expenses, according to the company’s financial filings.

Latest-quarter revenues totaled $34.6 million, up from $32.4 million a year ago, driven by increases in sales at the company’s restaurants in New York and Boston. Ark’s other locations did not fare as well, with same-store sales dropping 17.4 percent at restaurants in Atlantic City and 6.8 percent at restaurants in Connecticut. Systemwide, same-store sales fell 0.6 percent for the quarter.

For the full year, Ark posted net income of $7.0 million, or $1.93 per share, versus $13.0 million, or $3.61 per share, a year earlier, when it booked a $7.8 million gain from the sale of the company’s Lutece and Tsunami locations to the Venetian Casino Resort in Las Vegas. Fiscal 2008 revenues rose 6.4 percent to $125.4 million and reflected an annual systemwide same-store sales increase of 0.9 percent.

Ark’s restaurants include such well-known eateries as Bryant Park Grill and The Grill Room in New York, Sequoia in Washington, D.C., V Bar in Las Vegas, and Gallagher’s in Atlantic City. The company also manages quick-service facilities in the Hard Rock Hotel and Casinos in Tampa and Hollywood, Fla.

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