• Chicago Pizza & Brewery's 4Q revenues rise, but '02 earnings fall

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. -- Chicago Pizza & Brewery Inc. (Nasdaq:CHGO) reported on Jan. 15, that revenues increased 25.6 percent to a record $21 million for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 28, 2002. Revenues for the same period in 2001 were $16.7 million.

In a news release, the company attributed the revenue gains to a 3.9 percent same-store sales increase at BJ's restaurants opened more than 18 months, and the opening of four new restaurants in California and Texas last year.

"We are very pleased with the revenues at the new stores and our existing stores," said Paul Motenko, the company's co-CEO. "The initial revenues at these restaurants have far exceeded our expectations."

But the news wasn't all good as higher-than-anticipated pre-opening and labor costs associated with the new store openings hurt fourth-quarter earnings. According to the release, earnings will be below 2002 expectations of 14 cents to 15 cents.

For 2003, the company stated that it remains comfortable with analysts' earnings of estimates 22 cents to 25 cents per share.

Chicago Pizza & Brewery had planned to open eight to 10 new stores this year, but it trimmed the number back to five or six to better balance revenue with capital expenditures.

The company's long-term growth objective is to boost revenues by 20 percent to 30 percent annually, according to the release.

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