Wendy’s (WEN) reported stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and reaffirmed an upbeat fiscal 2013 guidance on Wednesday as restaurant sales improved as part of a revitalization plan.
The Dublin, Ohio-based fast-food chain posted net income of $22.3 million, or 6 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $3.9 million, or a penny a share.
Excluding one-time items, Wendy’s earned 8 cents, topping average analyst estimates in a Thomson Reuters poll by four cents.
Revenue for the three months ended Dec. 30 was up 2.4% to $629.9 million from $615 million a year ago, missing the Street’s view of $638 million. While fourth-quarter same-store sales were slightly negative, they grew 4.9% on a two-year basis.
“We are pleased with progress we made in 2012, as our brand transformation accelerated," said Wendy’s CEO Emil Brolick.
The company continues to become more efficient by purchasing select franchise restaurants and selling restaurants to new and existing franchises. Of the 85 franchisee openings in 2012, nearly half occurred in the fourth quarter.
As the company looks toward 2013, Brolick said he's optimistic about Wendy's product pipeline and marketing plans.
The company reaffirmed its fiscal 2012 non-GAAP EPS guidance of 18 cents to 20 cents a share, above consensus calls for 17 cents.
Shares of Wendy’s ticked up about 2.5% to $5.03 Wednesday morning.