Sonic Corp. profit rose 23.5 percent in the first quarter ended Nov. 30, and systemwide same-store sales increased 5.3 percent, the company reported Tuesday.

The Oklahoma City-based company, which has 3,529 drive-ins nationwide, said net income rose 23.5 percent, to $12.5 million, or 24 cents a share, compared with $10.1 million, or 18 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Revenue rose 4.3 percent, to $145.8 million, from $139.9 million in the prior-year quarter.

Systemwide same-store sales increased 5.3 percent in the quarter, which included a 5.4-percent increase at franchised locations and a 4.4-percent increase at company units.

"Our solid business momentum continues with another quarter of robust same-store sales," Cliff Hudson, Sonic CEO, said in a statement.

“Improvements in core menu items, combined with limited-time-offer promotions, drove healthy same-store sales growth of 5.3 percent for the system during the quarter, building upon 8.5-percent same-store sales growth in the prior-year quarter,” he said.

Among sales strengths were two new two premium chicken menu items and targeted value offerings, Hudson said.

In the quarter, Sonic repurchased more than 1.8 million shares at an average price of $25.73 a share, the company said.

“Looking forward, we believe our technology initiatives will be key contributors to driving sales, profits and new unit development,” Hudson added.

At the end of the quarter, Sonic had 382 company-owned units and 3,147 franchised restaurants. Some recent franchise development has included conversions from other restaurant brands.

Contact Ron Ruggless at ronald.ruggless@penton.com.
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