Red Robin 1Q profit down 10 pct but sales grow

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. (AP) -- Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc.'s fiscal first-quarter net income dropped 10 percent, hurt by lower customer traffic.

The company blamed the drop in traffic on a change in the company's financial calendar — this year's quarter ended six days later than in the same period in 2012. Red Robin expects a key sales metric to improve this year, however, and shares rose in midday trading Tuesday.

For the quarter ended April 21, Red Robin earned $9.5 million, or 66 cents per share, down from $10.6 million, or 71 cents per share, in the same quarter the year before. Revenue rose 2 percent, to $306.4 million from $299.5 million.

Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 66 cents per share on $306.7 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Revenue at restaurants the company has owned itself for at least a year increased 2.2 percent. Customer traffic fell 0.6 percent, but diners spent 2.8 percent more, on average. The metric is a key measure of a retailer's health, because it excludes revenue at stores that recently opened or closed.

For the full year, Red Robin expects revenue at restaurants open at least a year to increase 2.5 percent to 3 percent, partly due to higher prices. The measure rose 1.1 percent last year.

Red Robin shares rose $1.83, or 3.7 percent, to $50.83 Tuesday. The stock had gained 39 percent this year.