Richmond, British Columbia-based Boston Pizza Royalties Income Fund and Boston Pizza International Inc. each reported financial results for the fourth quarter period, Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, and 2010 year-end from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31.

The fund's earnings for the quarter and year were $5 million, or a record $0.346 per unit, and $20.5 million, or a record $1.412 per unit, respectively, compared to the same periods in 2009.

The fund's earnings per unit before income taxes and dilution gains or losses increased by 5.2 percent for the period and 4.8 percent for the year compared to the same periods in 2009. This boost was a result of the fund's acquisition and cancellation of units pursuant to normal course issuer bids.

The fund's net earnings for the quarter and year were $5.0 million or $0.341 per unit and $20.2 million or a record $1.397 per unit, respectively, compared to the same periods in 2009.

No debt was incurred at any point during the quarter or year to fund distributions.

Additionally, same-store sales growth was 1.3 percent for the quarter and negative 1.3 percent for the year. On a franchise sales basis, same-store sales for the quarter were up 2.6 percent for 4Q, and down 0.7 percent for the year.

"We are pleased to report continued sales momentum in the fourth quarter, with franchise sales rising 2.6 percent versus a year ago on a same store basis. A key driver was Boston Pizza's new 'Finger Cooking' media campaign, which contributed to higher online orders through the fall," said George Melville, co-chairman and owner of Boston Pizza International Inc.

Looking ahead

The Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association has forecast sales growth of 2.8 percent for the Canadian full-service restaurant sector in 2011. Boston Pizza International Inc.'s management agrees with this outlook for modest growth during 2011 and believes that Boston Pizza is well positioned to attract a wide variety of guests into the restaurant, sports bar and take-out/delivery parts of each location and offer a compelling value proposition to guests.

The company hopes to increase average check levels through a combination of menu design and annual re-pricing. Also, BPI's franchise agreement requires that each Boston Pizza restaurant undergo a complete store renovation every seven years and several renovations are already underway in 2011. Restaurants typically close for two to three weeks to complete the renovation and experience an incremental sales increase in the year following the re-opening.

Three new Boston Pizza restaurants are currently under construction and scheduled to open in the first half of 2011.

Boston Pizza restaurants offer a casual dining setting with more than 100 menu items including gourmet pizzas made with signature hand-pressed dough. There are more than 325 units throughout Canada.

 

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