• CPK forecasts lower fourth quarter earnings

LOS ANGELES -- California Pizza Kitchen Inc. (Nasdaq:CPKI) reported Tuesday that third-quarter earnings dropped slightly, and cut fourth-quarter and full fiscal 2002 forecasts due to volatile sales following recent terrorist attacks on the United States.

For the quarter CPK reported net income of $3.4 million, or 18 cents a fully diluted share, down from $3.5 million, or 19 cents a share, a year ago. Total revenue, however, rose to $64.3 million from $55 million last year.

Also during the third quarter, sales at restaurants open at least a year rose 1.8 percent; tellingly, those stores' sales were up 3.5 percent before the Sept. 11 attacks.

CPK, which operates, licenses and franchises of 128 restaurants, said it expects sales at restaurants open at least a year to be down 1 percent to flat for the fourth quarter and forecast fully diluted earnings of 14 cents to 16 cents a share. Several weeks ago the company warned it expected the attacks would only slow sales already taken off pace by the softening U.S. economy.

Full fiscal 2002 earnings per share are expected to be 80 cents to 84 cents based on opening 16 to 18 restaurants and flat to 1 percent rise in same-store comp sales. Analysts had estimated CPK's fourth-quarter earnings at 19 cents a share, and 93 cents a share for 2002.

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