It was encouraging to see that March comps were positive marking the first time in over 2 years of positive monthly comps. Most retailers had strong March numbers so this really isn't anything special from KONA, but a good sign nevertheless. It'll be interesting to see how they line up with the industry on comps for March.
The new CEO clearly came on board at the right time. Management always looks brilliant in a good economy. The verdict is still very much out, but at the very least they are now keeping up with the trends. Listen to some of the earnings calls in 2009 and you'll see that several hedge funds clearly thought KONA had the worst comps in the industry (Their comps were so bad I didn't see the need to confirm). This always provides an extra tailwind for new management. Those easy comps will provide extra fuel for the stock price in 2010 as well.
- For the first quarter of 2010, restaurant sales increased 8.2% to $21.1 million from $19.5 million a year-ago, including a decline in comparable restaurant sales of approximately 2.5%. During its fourth quarter conference call, the Company had previously guided to restaurant sales of $19.4 million to $20.4 million for the first quarter.
- The quarterly comparable restaurant sales decrease of 2.5% compares to a 9.6% decrease in the prior year period and an 8.1% decrease during the fourth quarter of 2009.
- "During March, our comparable restaurant sales rose 3.6% and were positive for the first time since February 2008. We are cautiously optimistic that this momentum will continue throughout 2010 which will enable us to leverage costs and ultimately, improve our bottom line results," said Marc Buehler, President and Chief Executive Officer of Kona Grill.