Sonic Corp. announces first quarter of fiscal year 2017 results

OKLAHOMA CITY, 2017-Jan-05 — /EPR Retail News/ — Sonic Corp. (NASDAQ:SONC), the nation’s largest chain of drive-in restaurants, today (Jan 4, 2017) announced results for its first fiscal quarter ended November 30, 2016.

Key highlights of the company’s first quarter of fiscal year 2017 included:

  • Net income per diluted share increased 17% to $0.28 compared with $0.24 in the same period of the prior year; adjusted net income per diluted share was flat versus the prior-year period at $0.24;
  • System same-store sales declined 2.0%, consisting of a 2.0% same-store sales decrease at franchise drive-ins and 2.4% decrease at company drive-ins;
  • Company drive-in margins declined by 150 basis points;
  • Fourteen new franchise drive-ins opened and 56 drive-ins were refranchised; and
  • The company repurchased 2.0 million outstanding shares.

“Our first quarter results reflect a sluggish consumer landscape and exceptionally strong prior-year performance,” said Cliff Hudson, Sonic Corp.CEO. “Although the business faces even tougher sales and margin hurdles in the second fiscal quarter, we remain optimistic in our ability to show sequential same-store sales and profitability improvement beginning in the second half of fiscal 2017.

“Our unit growth, capital structure, refranchising and technology initiatives are performing well,” continued Hudson. “We refranchised 56 drive-ins during the quarter and remain confident that we will complete our targeted refranchising transactions prior to the end of the third fiscal quarter, leaving us with a more efficient, higher-margin portfolio of company-owned stores. We are also pleased to have repurchased 2 million shares in the first quarter of 2017, representing 4% of shares outstanding, while continuing to invest in the people, development and content that will drive our consumer-facing technology to the next level.”

Same-Store Sales

For the first quarter ended November 30, 2016, system same-store sales decreased 2.0%, which was comprised of a 2.0% same-store sales decline at franchise drive-ins and a decline of 2.4% at company drive-ins.

Financial Overview

For the first fiscal quarter of 2017, the company’s net income totaled $13.1 million or $0.28 per diluted share compared to net income of$12.5 million or $0.24 per diluted share in the same period of the prior year. Excluding the items outlined below, net income declined 9% and net income per diluted share was flat.

The following analysis of non-GAAP adjustments is intended to supplement the presentation of the company’s financial results in accordance with GAAP. The company believes that the presentation of this analysis provides useful information to investors and management regarding the underlying business trends and the performance of the company’s ongoing operations and is helpful for period-to-period and company-to-company comparisons, which management believes will assist investors in analyzing the financial results of the company and predicting future performance.

Fiscal Year 2017 Outlook

While the macroeconomic environment may impact results, the company continues to expect adjusted earnings per share for fiscal year 2017 to be in the range of down 7% to flat year over year. The outlook for fiscal 2017 anticipates the following elements:

  • (2)% to 0% same-store sales for the system;
  • Royalty revenue growth from new unit development;
  • 65 to 75 new franchise drive-in openings;
  • Drive-in-level margins of 16% to 17%, depending upon the timing of drive-in divestitures and the degree of same-store sales growth at company drive-ins;
  • Selling, general and administrative expenses of approximately $84.0 million reflecting increased investment in human resources and technology to support brand initiatives;
  • Depreciation and amortization expense of $37.5 million to $38.5 million reflecting the divestiture of company drive-ins as previously announced;
  • Net interest expense of approximately $26.5 million to $27.5 million;
  • Capital expenditures of $40 million to $45 million reflecting ongoing investment into the company’s technology initiatives;
  • Free cash flow(1) of approximately $60 million;
  • An income tax rate between 35.0% to 36.0%;
  • The planned use of the remaining $122 million share repurchase authorization across the fiscal year, inclusive of refranchising proceeds; and
  • An expected quarterly cash dividend of $0.14 per share.

Earnings Conference Call

The company will host a conference call to review financial results at 5:00 PM ET this evening. The conference call can be accessed live over the phone by dialing (888) 297-0353 or (719) 325-2410 for international callers. A replay will be available one hour after the call and can be accessed by dialing (877) 870-5176 or (858) 384-5517 for international callers; the conference ID is 2683899. The replay will be available until Wednesday, January 11, 2017. An online replay of the conference call will be available approximately two hours after the conclusion of the live broadcast. A link to this event may be found on the company’s investor relations website at http://ir.sonicdrivein.com/.

About Sonic

SONIC, America’s Drive-In is the nation’s largest drive-in restaurant chain serving more than 3 million customers every day. Nearly 90 percent of SONIC’s 3,500 drive-in locations are owned and operated by local business men and women. Over more than 60 years, SONIC has delighted guests with signature menu items, more than 1.3 million drink combinations and friendly service by iconic Carhops. Since the 2009 launch of SONIC’s Limeades for Learning philanthropic campaign in partnership with DonorsChoose.org, SONIC has donated more than $5 million to public school teachers nationwide to fund essential learning materials and innovative teaching resources to inspire creativity and learning in today’s youth. To learn more about Sonic Corp. (NASDAQ/NM:SONC), please visit sonicdrivein.com and please visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. To learn more about SONIC’s Limeades for Learning initiative, please visit Limeadesforlearning.com.

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Forward-looking statements reflect management’s expectations regarding future events and operating performance and speak only as of the date hereof. These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in, or underlying, these forward-looking statements are detailed in the company’s annual and quarterly report filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company undertakes no obligation to publicly release revisions to these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unforeseen events, except as required to be reported under the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Contact:
Corey Horsch
405-225-4800
Vice President of Investor Relations and Treasurer

Source: Sonic Corp.