OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Sonic Corp. said Monday that its fiscal second-quarter net income more than doubled and it expects a key sales measure to improve in the year ahead.
Investors saw that as a sign that marketing and menu changes to entice customers may be paying off. The news sent the drive-in restaurant chain's stock up in after-hours trading.
Sonic reported net income of $3.6 million, or 6 cents per share, for the quarter that ended Feb. 28. That compares with net income of $1.7 million or 3 cents per share, a year earlier. After adjusting for the costs tied to an early debt payoff and a tax benefit for the reinstatement of a special tax credit, the company earned 5 cents per share.
Sonic's total revenue slipped to $111.1 million from $115.1 million, hurt slightly by one less selling day because 2012 was a leap year.
Analysts polled by FactSet expected Sonic to earn 5 cents per share on revenue of $113.1 million.
Sonic said that its revenue from stores open at least a year was flat, which included a 1.9 percent increase at its company-owned restaurants and flat results from its franchise sites, which account for most of the chain.
This is considered a key measure of financial performance as it strips away the impact of recently opened or closed restaurants. Adjusted for the extra day, this measure increased 1.3 percent across the company's entire system of stores.
Sonic said it expects this same measure to increase in the low single-digit range this fiscal year.
The company, based in Oklahoma City, has roughly 3,500 drive-ins across the country.
Sonic shares fell 12 cents to close at $11.73 but increased more than 4 percent in after-hours trading to reach $12.25. The company's stock has climbed about 70 percent since last spring.