Brinker earnings rise 14% in third quarter

by Eric Schroeder
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DALLAS — Net income at Brinker International in the third quarter ended March 24 totaled $39,998,000, equal to 39c per share on the common stock, up 14% from $35,003,000, or 34c per share, in the same period a year ago.

Brinker said the decision to implement a new menu for its Chili’s restaurants lowered earnings by approximately $5 million, before tax, during the most recent quarter. In addition, On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina, which Brinker agreed to sell to OTB Acquisition L.L.C. in March for approximately $180 million, was presented as discontinued operations. The company expects the transaction to close by the end of fiscal 2010.

Total revenue for the quarter was $713,380,000, down 8% from $774,067,000 in the third quarter of fiscal 2009. Brinker said the sales decline reflected a 4% decline in comparable restaurant sales during the third quarter of fiscal 2010. Revenues also were affected adversely by a net decline in capacity of 5% due to the sale of 21 restaurants to a franchisee and 19 restaurant closings since the third quarter of fiscal 2009.

For the nine months ended March 24, net income totaled $74,089,000, or 72c per share, up sharply from $37,020,000, or 36c per share, in the same period a year ago. Total revenue for the period fell 17% to $2,115,438,000 from $2,534,254,000.

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