Famous Dave's of America Inc. on Thursday posted a weak fourth quarter, with its profits evaporating, and its stock sank 9 percent.
The Minnetonka-based restaurant chain recorded a net loss of $2.5 million, including a one-time asset impairment charge for six restaurants. That translated into a 35 cents per share net loss for the quarter, compared with a 25 cents per share profit a year ago.
Not including one-time charges, Famous Dave's lost $21,000, or zero cents per share. The two analysts that follow the company expected profits of 15 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters.
Fourth-quarter sales at Famous Dave's tallied $34.1 million, down from $35.7 million a year ago, but in line with forecasts.
"The company's top-line sales performed in line with our expectations for both the fourth quarter and fiscal 2014," CEO Ed Rensi said in a prepared statement. "We expect to continue to face top-line sales head winds until the middle of the second quarter."
Comparable sales for company-owned restaurants — an important financial gauge — fell 4 percent over a year ago. At franchisee-owned Famous Dave's outlets, comparable sales were down 2.4 percent.
While sales were falling, the company's total fourth quarter costs and expenses rose 15 percent — hence the dearth of adjusted profits.
Still, Rensi said that Famous Dave's made "important strategic investments and made some tough portfolio rationalization decisions that mask the underlying progress that we are making."
Rensi joined Famous Dave's last year, aiming to turn around the stagnating chain.
Famous Dave's stock closed Thursday at $31.10, down $3.05.