• California Pizza Kitchen reports strong 2002 results

LOS ANGELES -- California Pizza Kitchen, Inc., (Nasdaq:CPKI) ended 2002 on a solid note with same-store sales increases of 4.2 percent for its fourth quarter and 4.3 percent for the full year.

According to a release, revenue in its fourth quarter, ended Dec. 29, grew 21 percent to $81.5 million, up from $67.6 million in the comparable quarter. Net earnings for the period rose 32 percent to $4.2 million (22 cents a diluted share), compared to $3.2 million (17 cents per diluted share) last year.

For all of 2002, which ended Dec. 29, revenues increased approximately 23 percent to $306.3 million, compared to $249.2 million the year prior. Net income was $15.3 million (81 cents per diluted share) compared to $13.2 million (71 cents per diluted share) in 2001. Net earnings were $1.6 million, up 27 percent to (90 cents per diluted share).

CPK finished the year debt free and with $31.2 million in cash.

In a Jan. 28 investor conference call, the company revealed plans to add 22 restaurants in 2003 and as many as 28 the following year.

CPK CEO Fred Hipp said the company is examining a potential acquisition of another restaurant company, but he revealed no details.

According to the release, California Pizza Kitchen operates 149 restaurants; 118 are company-owned and 31 are franchised or licensed. Check average at its restaurants is $11.50 per person.

CPK also works with Kraft Foods to manufacture and distribute its line of California Pizza Kitchen premium frozen pizzas in grocery stores.

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