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Red Robin beats estimates in 4Q; shares soar

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. (AP) -- Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc.'s fiscal fourth-quarter net income more than doubled as more customers ate in its restaurants and spent more each visit.

The company's results topped Wall Street expectations. Its shares soared nearly 19 percent Tuesday.

Red Robin earned $6.5 million, or 45 cents per share, for the period that ended Dec. 30. That's compared with $2.9 million, or 20 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of the prior year. After excluding charges for debt refinancing and other one-time items, it earned 59 cents per share, up from 28 cents per share a year earlier.

The company's total revenue increased nearly 17 percent to $240.7 million from $206 million, with a boost from an extra week in the most recent quarter.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected the company to earn 46 cents per share on revenue of $235.1 million.

Red Robin CEO Steve Carley said Red Robin outpaced the industry for customer growth.

The company said revenue from its company-owned stores open at least a year increased 1.4 percent. This is considered a key measure of financial performance because it strips away the impact of recently opened and closed stores. As of the end of the quarter, there were 339 company-owned Red Robin restaurants.

Red Robin said it expects this same measure to increase 2.5 percent to 3 percent in its 2013 fiscal year as it benefits from higher prices, the number of items sold to each customer and increased guest visits. Additionally, the company said it plans to open 20 new restaurants during the year.

The Greenwood Village, Colo., company also announced Tuesday that J. Taylor Simonton and Marcus L. Zanner are retiring from its board of directors.

Simonton will retire and will not seek re-election at the company's annual stockholder meeting in May. Zanner will retire also effective at the same meeting, although his term does not expire until the annual meeting in 2014. The company is decreasing the size of its board from 10 directors to eight.

Simonton, 68, has served on the board since 2005. Zanner, 68, has served since 2009.

Shares of Red Robin jumped $6.88 to close at $43.33. The company set a new annual trading high; its stock had previously traded between $27.18 and $37.98 in the past year.