• Dec. comp-store sales rise 4.2% at California Pizza Kitchen

LOS ANGELES -- California Pizza Kitchen, Inc., (Nasdaq: CPKI) reported that revenues increased 21 percent to $81.5 million for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 29, 2002, versus $67.6 million in the same period of '01.

According to a news release, same-store sales increased 4.2 percent for the three-month period versus 2 percent for the same period a year ago. The company credits the rise primarily to an increase in average check due to a 1.1 percent menu price boost and changes in the menu mix associated with the company's new menu and wine program. The menu and price upgrades rolled out in November.

During the fourth quarter, CPK opened five new restaurants for a total of 18 for the year. It plans to open 22 new restaurants in 2003, four in the first quarter.

In its Oct. 22 earnings release, CPK forecast same-store sales growth of approximately 2 percent to 3 percent and earnings per share guidance of 20 cents to 22 cents for the fourth quarter.

It expects any incremental profitability from the better-than-expected same-store sales will be offset by training costs related to the company's new menu and wine program, and thus it will maintain its previously announced earnings guidance.

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