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DineEquity Juiced by IHOP Sales

A sharp increase in same store sales at IHOP restaurants drove fourth quarter earnings at DineEquity Inc. that beat analysts’ estimates, the company reported on Wednesday. The Glendale operator of the Applebee’s and IHOP chains reported a net loss of $22.4 million (-$1.18 a share) for the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared to net income of $17.9 million (98 cents) for the same period a year earlier. Revenue rose 4 percent to $164 million. However, accounting for one-time gains and expenses, the company said it had net income of $21.9 million ($1.16 a share) for the quarter. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial estimated net income of 97 cents a share on revenue of $158 million. Same-store fourth quarter sales at IHOP restaurants increased 6.1 percent, the highest quarterly sales increase since the first quarter of 2004, while Applebee’s sales increased 2.8 percent. “We achieved several significant goals this year, aimed at driving additional shareholder value. We saw meaningful progress in accelerating same-restaurant sales at both Applebee’s and IHOP, as each brand finished the year with great momentum,” said Chief Executive Julia Stewart in a statement. The full year, the company reported net income of $36.5 million on revenue of $655 million, compared to net income of $72 million on revenue of $641 million in 2013. Also, the company announced a first-quarter cash dividend of $0.875 a share payable on April 10 to stockholders of record as of March 13. Shares closed down $1.87, or nearly 2 percent, to $111.38 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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