• Weather blamed in CPK's lowered earnings estimate

LOS ANGELES – Severe weather in February is being blamed for higher-than-expected labor costs, and as a result California Pizza Kitchens (CPKI) is lowering its first quarter earnings estimates, according to a company news release."urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

The casual dining chain said staffing its restaurants was difficult during severe weather in February, and the cost of labor as a percentage of sales increased dramatically.

California Pizza Kitchens operates 130 restaurants in 25 states and four foreign countries.

The chain's earning expectations were lowered to 20 cents to 22 cents a share, down two cents from the company's earlier estimate.

A current Thomson First Call estimate puts California Pizza's first-quarter earnings at 23 cents a share, compared with year-ago earnings of 29 cents.

Revenue now is expected to grow 17 percent to 18 percent for the quarter, putting first-quarter revenue at $82.1 million to $82.8 million, below Wall Street's $84.6 million estimate.

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