IRVING, Texas—Chuck E. Cheese's posted solid comparable store-sales gains of 5 percent for the first quarter, ended March 28, 2004.

According to a news release, revenues for the period rose 12.4 percent to $206.9 million, up from $184.1 million in the same period last year. Helped along by new store openings and strong comp-sales, net income increased to $32.3 million, compared to $27.4 million last year. Earnings per share for the period was 82 cents, compared to last year's 66 cents.

In the release, Chris Morris, senior vice president and chief financial officer said he was proud of the company's achievements despite "an increase of $1.1 million in food costs due to a 36 percent increase in cheese prices compared to the prior year." Morris warned, however, that higher cheese prices should add about $5 million to the company's food costs over the remaining three quarters.

Despite the expected increases, Chairman and CEO Richard M. Frank said he expects the company will increase EPS by approximately 20 percent in 2004. "We view this cost pressure, although significant, as short-term in nature, and given our continued belief in our strategic plan, we remain confident in our long-term prospects."

CEC Entertainment, Inc. operates a system of 470 Chuck E. Cheese's restaurants in 48 states, of which 422 are owned and operated by the company.

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