Cheesecake Factory's 1Q profit hit by weather

Associated Press

CALABASAS HILLS, Calif. (AP) -- The Cheesecake Factory Inc. said Wednesday that bad weather, a shift in holiday timing and legal costs weighed on its first-quarter profits.

The restaurant chain said after the market closed that it earned $22.5 million, or 43 cents per share, for the quarter that ended April 1. That's compared with $25.3 million, or 47 cents per share, in its first quarter last year.

It recorded a $186,000 pre-tax charge during the quarter related to the planned relocation of a restaurant. Excluding this, it would have earned $22.6 million, still 43 cents per share. Revenue rose to $481.4 million from $463 million.

Its profit fell short of Wall Street's expectations but revenue came in just ahead of forecasts. Analysts polled by FactSet were anticipating earnings of 49 cents per share on revenue of $478.6 million.

The Cheesecake Factory said that its revenue from restaurants open at least a year increased 0.9 percent in the first quarter. It estimated that severe winter storms and a shift in holiday timing brought this measure down by 2 percent. Easter this year fell in the second quarter, while it was in the first quarter last year.

Revenue at stores open at least a year is considered a key measure of a retailer's performance because it strips away the impact of recently opened and closed sites. The indicator grew 1.2 percent at The Cheesecake Factory's namesake restaurants and fell 2.9 percent at its Grand Lux Cafe sites for the period.

The Cheesecake Factory, based in Calabasas Hills, Calif., operates 181 restaurants around the U.S. Its shares fell $1.20 to close regular trading at $46.80 but were unchanged in after-hours trading following the report.