California Pizza Kitchen's
For the quarter, the company achieved tasty earnings in the amount of $5.2 million, compared with the $4.4 million of net income a year ago. The earnings were the result of a 19.9% increase in revenues that climbed to $115.2 million.
For the year, California Pizza's sales grew 17.4% to $422.5 million, and its comparable same-store sales (over a 12-month cycle) came in at a strong 5.9%. Its fiscal 2004 revenues helped the company's earnings increase by 121% to $17.7 million (or $0.92 in earnings per share), compared with the $8 million level of 2003.
One big reason for California Pizza's success is its 123% improvement in operating margins, from 2.6% in 2003 to 5.8% in 2004. No, 5.8% is nothing to call your friends about, but the deep-dish-sized increase shows that the company is on the right track toward increasing its stash of money, which currently sits at $17.7 million in cash and equivalents, and $25.4 million in marketable securities.
So, you want a slice of this tomato pie? Before you do, we need to dig further. The company has offered revenue guidance for 2005 at a range of 9% to 10%. It has also established an earnings target of $1.11 to $1.13, or 22% over 2004. With a blended growth rate of 16%, this sauce, with its forward price-to-earnings ratio of 24, is a tad too rich for my taste.
The company has only 138 full-service restaurants. That's a sign that there's plenty of room for growth. But its stock is steeply valued at $26.50, given the fiercely competitive industry that it's in -- it has to go up against expert pie throwers like Papa John's
Fool contributor Jeremy MacNealy does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.