Ruby Tuesday, Inc. today reported financial results for the fiscal first quarter ended Sept. 2, 2014.

Same-restaurant sales increased 1.1 percent for the quarter at company-owned Ruby Tuesday restaurants driven by a same-restaurant guest count increase of 1.3 percent. 

Same-restaurant sales increased 6 percent at 31 domestic Ruby Tuesday franchise restaurants compared to the same quarter of the prior year.

"We are pleased with the momentum we achieved in the first quarter," says JJ Buettgen, president, CEO, and chairman of the board. "We outperformed the Knapp Track industry benchmark on both same restaurant sales and same restaurant guest counts in the first quarter, and we have now outperformed the industry on both metrics for three consecutive quarters."

Total revenue was $281.2 million compared to $289.7 million in the same quarter of the prior year, reflecting the closing of 38 underperforming restaurants since the first quarter of the prior year, offset by a 1.1 percent same-restaurant sales increase.

Net income from continuing operations was $2.6 million compared to a net loss from continuing operations of $21.9 million for the prior year. Excluding special items, net loss from continuing operations was $0.6 million compared to a net loss from continuing operations of $20.2 million in the prior year. 

"We continued to make progress on our brand transformation efforts and we believe we are starting to see the benefit of this work in our sales and guest count trends," Buettgen says. "We are excited about the momentum we have seen in our sales and guest counts over the past three quarters and the improvements we are driving in restaurant level returns."

Restaurant-level margins were 17.4 percent, an improvement of 420 basis points over the prior year quarter, which includes approximately 130 basis points due to timing and non-recurring items.

During the quarter, two company-owned Ruby Tuesday restaurants were closed. International franchisees opened four Ruby Tuesday restaurants. Franchisees opened one Lime Fresh restaurant.

Our FY15 plans focus on further improvements to our menu and our overall guest experience, and on improving restaurant-level margins," Buettgen says. "We are confident in our overall strategy and believe our plans will position the company for long-term success.”

Ruby Tuesday estimates same-restaurant sales for the second quarter and the year will be up 1-2 percent, revised from the previous guidance of flat to up 2 percent.

During the year, the company plans to open one, rebuild one, and close 10 to 13 company-owned Ruby Tuesday restaurants. Domestic franchisees expect to open two Lime Fresh restaurants and close three Ruby Tuesday restaurants. International franchisees expect to open five to eight Ruby Tuesday restaurants.

Casual Dining, Chain Restaurants, Finance, Industry News, Ruby Tuesday