LOS ANGELES — Net income at California Pizza Kitchen fell 47% to $4,581,000, equal to 19c per share on the common stock, in the year ended Jan. 3, down from earnings of $8,662,000, or 34c per share, in fiscal 2008. Excluding impairment charges and store closing costs, though, net income rose 8% in the year to $18,582,000.

Net sales in the year eased 2% to $664,686,000.

For the fourth quarter ended Jan. 3, California Pizza Kitchen sustained a loss of $9,900,000, which compared with a loss of $5,312,000 in fiscal 2008. Excluding impairment charges and store closing costs, net income in the fourth quarter of 2009 rose 31% to $4,100,000. Net sales in the quarter were $167,848,000, up from $161,771,000 in the same period a year earlier.

“Despite sales challenges for new restaurants in the high unemployment states of California, Michigan and Florida, we were very pleased that our fourth-quarter comparable sales and proforma earnings results were within our previously guided ranges,” said Rick Rosenfeld and Larry Flax, co-chief executive officers. “While the quarter benefited from easier comparisons, the year-over-year and sequential quarter improvements mark what we believe may be the first signs of a comp turnaround. Comparable sales improvements were widespread across our dine-in, take-out, and delivery channels, and we credit the turnaround to the successful launch of our wine, call center, and catering programs along with November’s new menu rollout. Looking towards 2010, we are cautiously optimistic that these programs and other new revenue initiatives such as our ‘Small Cravings Menu’ will continue to drive guest traffic and comparable sales.”

California Pizza Kitchen last fall added whole grain options to its menu, and in early February launched the “Small Cravings Menu,” which features menu items at a price point ranging from $4 to $7.