LOS ANGELES — Despite a year-over-year improvement in fourth-quarter earnings, California Pizza Kitchen sustained a loss of $406,000 in the year ended Jan. 2. The loss compared with income of $4,581,000, equal to 19c per share on the common stock, in fiscal 2009. Net sales in fiscal 2010 totaled $642,231,000, down 3% from $664,686,000 in fiscal 2009.

For the fourth quarter ended Jan. 2, California Pizza Kitchen posted income of $440,000, or 2c per share, which compared with a loss of $9,900,000 in the same period a year ago. Net sales in the quarter fell 6% to $157,942,000.

“We were pleased to deliver fourth-quarter earnings that exceeded our previous guidance and that our comparable restaurant sales, absent the inclement weather and holiday shift, were positive,” said Rick Rosenfeld and Larry Flax, co-chief executive officers. “Strong labor management also helped us achieve lower costs as a percentage of restaurant sales.

“In 2011, we are strategically focused on enhancing our brand and evolving our menu to drive traffic and further differentiate California Pizza Kitchen from its casual dining competitors. As part of that effort, we are also targeting margin improvement by streamlining our menu and implementing a series of productivity initiatives.”

During the fourth quarter the company opened full-service restaurants in Bridgewater, N.J.; Pittsburgh; Tucson, Ariz.; and Shanghai.