California Pizza Kitchen, Inc. Reports Preliminary Fourth Quarter 2009 Results

California Pizza Kitchen, Inc. (Nasdaq:CPKI) announced today that revenues increased 3.8% to $167.8 million for the fourth quarter ended January 3, 2010 versus $161.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Full service comparable restaurant sales decreased approximately 5.8% compared to a 7.2% decrease in the fourth quarter a year ago. Results reflect 14 weeks versus a typical 13 week quarter as fiscal 2009 was a 53 week year.

During its November 5, 2009 third quarter conference call, the Company forecasted fourth quarter full service comparable restaurant sales in the range of negative 5.5% to negative 6.5% and earnings of $0.16 to $0.18 per diluted share. Based on preliminary results, management now expects earnings of $0.15 to $0.17 per diluted share excluding the effect of non-cash impairment write-downs for 13 full service restaurants. These write-downs, excluding tax benefits, are estimated to be $23 million. The net loss for the fourth quarter, including the effects of the non-cash impairment write-downs and projected tax benefits, is estimated to be negative $0.43 to negative $0.46 per diluted share. The impairment write-downs are expected to create a $3.2 million benefit in depreciation expense in 2010 while the Company estimates termination costs in 2010 for the closure of approximately three restaurants to be $1 million.

Rick Rosenfield and Larry Flax, co-CEOs of California Pizza Kitchen, Inc., stated ‘Despite sales challenges for new restaurants in the high unemployment states of California, Michigan and Florida, we were very pleased that our fourth quarter comparable sales were within our previously guided range. While the quarter benefited from easier comparisons, the year-over-year and sequential quarter improvements mark what we believe may be the first signs of a comp turnaround. Comparable sales improvements were widespread across our dine-in, take-out, and delivery channels, and we credit the turnaround to the successful launch of our wine, call center, and catering programs along with November’s new menu rollout. Looking towards 2010, we are cautiously optimistic that these programs and other new revenue initiatives will continue to drive guest traffic and comparable sales.’

During the fourth quarter, one of the Company’s franchise partners opened the first California Pizza Kitchen in Cancun, which is the seventh location in Mexico.