Brinker International owner of Chilli’s Bar and Grill reports 2Q profit

The parent company of Chili’s Bar & Grill, Brinker International, reported on Wednesday $18.3 million in 2Q profit.

The report sent shares up and the stock itself was up 18 cents compared with a loss of $21.8 million, or 21 cents per share, last year. Excluding costs related to selling a majority stake in its Romano’s Macaroni Grill chain, income was 29 cents per share, up from 27 cents per share in the prior-year quarter.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, on average, predicted a profit of 22 cents. Analyst estimates typically exclude one-time items.

Revenue fell 18 percent to $781.9 million from $949.4 million, hurt in part by the sale of the Romano’s locations. Still, that beat analyst expectations of $774.2 million.

Sales in stores open at least one year fell 3.1 percent, including a 3.2 percent drop at Chili’s, a 4.7 percent drop at On The Border and a 1.6 percent decline at Maggiano’s restaurants. Consumers have also continued to scale back on dining out because of a tough economy.

Sales at stores open at least a year are a key measure of retailer performance because they measure growth at existing stores rather than from newly opened ones.

Meanwhile, operating costs and expenses declined 23 percent to $754 million.

Shares rose $1.77, or 11.6 percent, to $17.08 during midday trading. The stock has traded between $7.95 and $20.09 during the past 52 weeks.

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