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Ark Restaurants Corp. reported a loss of 3 cents per share in the second quarter of 2012, much narrower than a loss of 32 cents per share in the year-earlier quarter. Reported result was well below the Zacks Consensus Estimate of earnings of 16 cents per share.

Ark Restaurants reported total revenue of $29.9 million, up 1.7% year over year. The upside in revenue was attributable to an 8.2% rise in company-wide comps. Additionally, prior year revenues include gains related to three properties closed in that quarter.

Quarter Highlights

The operating income of the company stood at $0.08 million in the reported quarter as opposed to operating loss of $1.1 million in the year-ago quarter, reflecting a contraction of 1.8% in payroll expenses, a decline of 5.4% in food and beverage cost, a decrease of 4.7% in occupancy expense, a drop of 4.7% in general and administrative expense and a dip of 7.4% in depreciation and amortization, partially offset by a rise of 8.0% in other operating expenses.

New York-based Ark Restaurants stated that adjusted EBITDA in the quarter was $1.0 million compared with adjusted EBIDTA loss of $0.3 million in the year-ago quarter.

Net loss from operations came in at $0.09 million, compared with a loss of $1.1 million in the prior-year quarter. Net loss includes pre-opening and early operating losses related to the opening of new restaurant Clyde Frazier’s Wine and Dine in New York in March 2012.

Financial Aspects

As of March 31, 2012, the company had cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments of $3.3 million. Ark Restaurants has a long-term debt of $2.1 million due to the purchase of 250,000 treasury shares in December 2011.

Our Take

The company reported weak results and hence we expect estimates to go down in the coming days. However, estimates have not budged in the last 30 days, indicating the absence of any share driving catalysts.The Zacks Consensus Estimates for 2012 and 2013 are pegged at $2.47 and $2.44, respectively.

Ark Restaurants, which competes with the company like Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (CMG - Analyst Report), owns and operates 21 restaurants and bars and 22 fast food concepts and catering operations in Washington, D.C., New York City and Las Vegas, NV.

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