Sonic Corp.
Jan 6, 2015

Sonic Achieves Strong First Quarter Results

Same-Store Sales Increase 8.5%

OKLAHOMA CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Sonic Corp. (NASDAQ:SONC), the nation's largest chain of drive-in restaurants, today announced results for the first fiscal quarter ended November 30, 2014.

Key highlights of the company's first quarter of fiscal year 2015 included:

"We are extremely pleased with our performance in the first quarter and believe that our focus on innovative products, increased media effectiveness and a layered day-part promotional strategy were instrumental to our continued success," said Cliff Hudson, Sonic Corp. CEO. "Our business momentum remains strong as improvements in core menu items combined with limited-time-offer promotions are driving our same-store sales growth. Further, we expect our technology initiatives will provide an additional layer of growth to build sales and profits over the next several years.

"Our focus continues to be on our multi-layered growth strategy, which is comprised of initiatives to drive same-store sales growth, improve margins, increase royalty revenues, new drive-in development and deployment of free cash flow1. This strategy is expected to continue to drive strong double-digit earnings per share growth for the next several years," concluded Hudson.

Same-Store Sales

For the first fiscal quarter ended November 30, 2014, system same-store sales increased 8.5%, which was comprised of an 8.5% same-store sales increase at franchise drive-ins and an increase of 7.9% at company drive-ins.

Financial Overview

For the first fiscal quarter of 2015, the company's net income increased to $10.1 million or $0.18 per diluted share compared with net income of $8.2 million or $0.14 per diluted share in the same period in the prior year. Excluding a tax benefit in the first fiscal quarter of 2014, outlined below, earnings per share increased 38%.

The following non-GAAP adjustment is intended to supplement the presentation of the company's financial results in accordance with GAAP. The company believes that the presentation of this item 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.

Three months ended Three months ended
November 30, 2014 November 30, 2013
Net Diluted Net Diluted Net Income Diluted EPS
Income EPS Income EPS $ Change   % Change $ Change   % Change
Reported - GAAP $ 10,085 $ 0.18 $ 8,208 $ 0.14 $ 1,877 23 % $ 0.04 29 %
Tax benefit from the IRS' acceptance of a federal tax method change   -   -   (484 )   (0.01 )                    
Adjusted - Non-GAAP $ 10,085 $ 0.18 $ 7,724   $ 0.13   $ 2,361   31 % $ 0.05   38 %

Fiscal Year 2015 Outlook

While the macroeconomic environment may impact results, the company expects its initiatives to drive earnings per share growth in fiscal 2015 at the high end or slightly above its long-term 14% to 20% earnings per share growth target, versus adjusted EPS in fiscal 2014. The outlook for fiscal 2015 anticipates the following elements:

Earnings Conference Call

The company will host a conference call and online web simulcast this afternoon beginning at 5:00 p.m. ET. The conference call can be accessed live by dialing (877) 591-4959 or (719) 325-4849 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 3996383. The replay will be available until Tuesday, January 13, 2015. 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

About Sonic

SONIC®, America's Drive-In®, is the nation's largest chain of drive-in restaurants with more than 3,500 drive-ins serving approximately 3 million customers every day. Over the past 61 years, SONIC has delighted guests with signature menu items, more than 1 million drink combinations, friendly service by iconic Carhops and ongoing support of education through its award-winning Limeades for Learning® program. SONIC received top honors as America's "#1 burger quick service restaurant," ranking in the top 5 of all brands in the 2014 Temkin Experience Ratings report. For more information about Sonic Corp. (NASDAQ/NM:SONC) and its subsidiaries, please visit Customers can also connect with SONIC at or on Twitter @sonicdrive_in.

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.

The tables that follow provide information regarding the number of company drive-ins, franchise drive-ins and system drive-ins in operation as of the end of the periods indicated. In addition, these tables provide information regarding franchise sales, system growth in sales, and both franchise and system average drive-in sales and change in same-store sales. System information includes both company and franchise drive-in information, which we believe is useful in analyzing the growth of our brand. While we do not record franchise drive-in sales as revenues, we believe this information is important in understanding our financial performance since we calculate and record franchise royalties based on a percentage of franchise sales. This information also is indicative of the financial health of our franchisees.

1 Free cash flow is defined as net income plus depreciation, amortization and stock compensation expenses, less capital expenditures.


(In thousands, except per share amounts)
Three months ended
November 30,
2014 2013
Company Drive-In sales $ 100,138 $ 93,499
Franchise Drive-Ins:
Franchise royalties and fees 38,264 31,221
Lease revenue 1,065 886
Other   389     1,046  
Total revenues 139,856 126,652
Costs and expenses:
Company Drive-Ins:
Food and packaging 28,573 26,236
Payroll and other employee benefits 35,271 33,340
Other operating expenses, exclusive of
depreciation and amortization included below   22,605     21,807  
Total cost of Company Drive-In sales 86,449 81,383
Selling, general and administrative 18,788 17,005
Depreciation and amortization 11,660 10,034
Provision for impairment of long-lived assets 22 -
Other operating (income) expense, net   399     (129 )
Total costs and expenses   117,318     108,293  
Income from operations 22,538 18,359
Interest expense 6,281 6,383
Interest income   (102 )   (117 )
Net interest expense   6,179     6,266  
Income before income taxes 16,359 12,093
Provision for income taxes   6,274     3,885  
Net income $ 10,085   $ 8,208  
Basic income per share $ 0.19   $ 0.15  
Diluted income per share $ 0.18   $ 0.14  
Weighted average basic shares   53,360     56,292  
Weighted average diluted shares   54,827     57,897  
Unaudited Supplemental Information
Three months ended
November 30,
2014 2013
Drive-Ins in Operation
Total at beginning of period 391 396
Opened 1 -
Acquired from (sold to) franchisees (2 ) (7 )

Closed (net of re-openings)

(1 ) (1 )
Total at end of period 389   388  
Total at beginning of period 3,127 3,126
Opened 12 7
Acquired from (sold to) the company 2 7
Closed (net of re-openings) (13 ) (11 )
Total at end of period 3,128   3,129  
Total at beginning of period 3,518 3,522
Opened 13 7
Closed (net of re-openings) (14 ) (12 )
Total at end of period 3,517   3,517  
Three months ended
November 30,
2014 2013
($ in thousands)
Sales Analysis
Company Drive-Ins:
Total sales $ 100,138 $ 93,499
Average drive-in sales 259 239
Change in same-store sales 7.9 % 1.9 %
Franchised Drive-Ins:
Total sales $ 908,276 $ 829,995
Average drive-in sales 294 270
Change in same-store sales 8.5 % 2.3 %
Change in total sales 9.2 % 2.4 %
Average drive-in sales $ 290 $ 266
Change in same-store sales 8.5 % 2.2 %

Note: Change in same-store sales based on restaurants open for a minimum of 15 months.

Unaudited Supplemental Information
Three months ended
November 30,



(In thousands)
Company Drive-In sales $ 100,138



Franchise Drive-Ins:
Franchise royalties 36,776 30,912
Franchise fees 1,488 309
Lease revenue 1,065 886
Other   389     1,046  
Total revenues $





Three months ended
November 30,
2014 2013
Margin Analysis (percentage of Company Drive-In sales)
Company Drive-Ins:

Food and packaging





Payroll and employee benefits 35.2 35.6
Other operating expenses 22.6   23.3
Cost of Company Drive-In sales





November 30,

August 31,



(In thousands)
Selected Balance Sheet Data
Cash and cash equivalents



$ 35,694
Current assets 90,344 95,712
Property, equipment and capital leases, net 436,768 441,969
Total assets



$ 650,972
Current liabilities, including capital lease obligations and
long-term debt due within one year



$ 79,511
Obligations under capital leases due after one year 22,430 23,050
Long-term debt due after one year 425,079 427,527
Total liabilities 580,146 588,297
Stockholders' equity



$ 62,675

Sonic Corp.
Claudia San Pedro, 405-225-4846
Vice President of Investor Relations,
Communications and Treasurer

Source: Sonic Corp.

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