Sonic Corp. (NASDAQ:SONC), the nation’s largest chain of drive-in restaurants, today announced preliminary results for its fourth fiscal quarter ended August 31, 2018.
The company estimates that system-wide same-store sales for its fourth fiscal quarter increased approximately 2.6% as compared to the prior-year quarter. Estimated same-store sales performance for the quarter reflects an increase of approximately 2.5% at company drive-ins and an increase of approximately 2.6% at franchise drive-ins. Additionally, net income per diluted share is expected to be $0.50 to $0.51 and adjusted net income per diluted share is estimated to be $0.51 to $0.52 for the fourth fiscal quarter.
“Our recent same-store sales performance reflects a stronger trend, driven by Sonic’s enhanced marketing reach, refreshed advertising creative, strong new product contribution and relevant everyday value,” said Cliff Hudson, Sonic Corp. CEO. “Our strategy this summer—focused on winning incremental visits from our customers—resulted in an increase in traffic of approximately 2.5% as compared to last year. In addition, during the quarter, we rolled out mobile order ahead functionality to the entire system and passed the one million mark for order ahead users. We look forward to launching a national order ahead advertising campaign this fall to continue building on our traffic momentum. We are pleased with the acceleration we are achieving in key metrics, and remain confident that we are taking the right steps to deliver long-term growth and value creation.”
In fiscal year 2019, the company expects to continue increasing same-store sales, traffic and free cash flow as it progresses against its target of returning a cumulative $500 to $600 million in capital to shareholders from fiscal 2018 through fiscal 2021. During fiscal year 2018, the company repurchased 5.2 million shares of its common stock for $139.2 million, representing 12% of shares outstanding, and made aggregate dividend payments of $24 million.
Preliminary results remain subject to the completion of normal quarter-end accounting procedures and adjustments and are subject to change. Final results for the fourth fiscal quarter of 2018 as well as the company's outlook for fiscal year 2019 will be released on October 16, 2018.
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