Brinker profit falls 21% on restaurant sell offs

by Eric Schroeder
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DALLAS — Brinker International, the parent company of Chili’s, Macaroni Grill, On The Border and Maggiano’s, posted net income of $37,600,000 for the first quarter ended Sept. 26, equal to 35c per share on the common stock. This marks a 21% decrease from income of $47,639,000, or 38c per share, in the first quarter of fiscal 2007.

Revenue increased 3% to $895,086,000, which compared with $869,283,000 during the same quarter of the previous year. Revenue gains were driven by a 3% restaurant capacity growth as well as by a 33% improvement in franchisees sales. The gains were partially offset by a decrease of 7% due to the sale of 97 restaurants to franchisees and other restaurant closings.

During the quarter, the company opened 27 restaurants — 15 company-owned and 12 franchised.

In August, Brinker announced it has begun exploring the potential sale of the Romano’s Macaroni Grill restaurant chain. The company said it has made "significant" progress in its search for a buyer, and expects to close the sale in late fiscal 2008.

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