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Nathan's Famous reports rising sales, earnings

A tray of hot dogs are carried through

A tray of hot dogs are carried through the crowd just before the start of Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4, 2012 in the Coney Island. Credit: Getty Images / Stan Honda

Nathan's Famous Inc. reported higher first-quarter sales and earnings Tuesday, driven by growth in sales of hot dogs to the food service industry and higher revenues at company-owned restaurants and franchise operations.

The Jericho-based fast-food chain, which sells its signature hot dogs, fries and burgers, posted net income of $4.07 million for the quarter ending June 29, an increase of 21.4 percent compared with the same period a year earlier. Earnings per diluted share rose 21.9 percent to 89 cents, company officials reported.

Revenues increased by 18.2 percent to $27.67 million versus the year-ago quarter. Earnings before income taxes increased by 119.5 percent to $6.86 million.

Shares of Nathan's rose $1.42, or 2.8 percent, to close at $52.02 Tuesday.

The company said sales of Nathan's hot dogs to the food service industry rose 14.6 percent to $15.06 million year over year. Sales from its five company-owned restaurants increased to $5.29 million from $3.73 million.

The sales at its corporate locations increased due to the opening of the newly renovated Yonkers restaurant, and the reopening of its flagship Coney Island restaurant, which was severely damaged by superstorm Sandy, operating for this quarter's 13 weeks compared with only five last year. Nathan's originated in Brooklyn.

Revenue from 306 franchise operations were $1.49 million, up from $1.36 million during the same period last year. Nine new franchised restaurants opened during the first quarter, including Nathan's first location in Costa Rica.

License royalties increased by 146.7 percent to $5.57 million, partially due to a new license agreement that began March 1 with John Morrell & Co. to replace its former licensee for the exclusive right to manufacture and sell Nathan's hot dogs through retail stores.

Last year, more than 480 million Nathan's hot dogs were sold, the company said.

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