Max & Erma’s scraps coupons and boosts lst-Q bottom line – Finance – Brief Article

Max & Erma’s scraps coupons and boosts lst-Q bottom line – Finance – Brief Article – Statistical Data Included

COLUMBUS, OHIO — Max & Erma’s Restaurants Inc. officials said the chain-wide elimination of discount coupons during the slow winter months helped raise its bottom line for the first quarter ended Feb. 17.

Max & Erma’s, whose 73 namesake stores include 10 franchised restaurants, posted a 30-percent increase in first-quarter profits, to $818,523, vs. year-ago period profits of $629,723.

The elimination of coupons resulted in a 40-basis-point improvement in store-level profit margins in the first quarter, company officials said.

First-quarter revenue rose 4 percent, to $44.49 million, from $42.98 million in the same period a year ago.

Same-store sales rose 0.6 percent.

Although the company gradually had been moving away from heavy discounting during the historically slow months of January and February, the most recent period marked the first year that the company cast aside the use of coupons systemwide.

The first-quarter bottom line also benefited from lower costs as a percentage of sales, declining natural gas prices and lower interest rates.

On a fully diluted basis, first-quarter earnings per share were 31 cents, vs. 25 cents in the year-ago quarter.

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