Sonic Corp. expects higher earnings


Wednesday, November 12th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6



OKLAHOMA CITY (Dow Jones/AP) _ Sonic Corp. expects first-quarter earnings to be at the higher end of its previously issued guidance for 29 cents to 30 cents a share.

The operator of fast-food drive-in restaurants also said same-store sales for the months of September and October are exceeding targets.

The guidance, released last month, is roughly in line with a Thomson First Call projection of 30 cents a share based on a survey of 12 analysts. A year earlier, the company earned 26 cents a share.

In a press release Monday, Sonic said new product promotions and favorable weather in several markets pushed same-store sales for the first two months of the first quarter ahead of the company's full-quarter target of 1 percent to 3 percent growth.

The higher-than-expected sales are expected to offset higher dairy costs.

Last month, Sonic released first-quarter revenue growth guidance of 13 percent to 15 percent. Based on first-quarter 2002 revenue of $98.6 million, the forecast suggests revenue of $111.4 million to $113.4 million.

Meanwhile, First Call projects first-quarter revenue of $111.2 million.