What’s Next for Dunkin’ Brands After Strong Earnings?

Dunkin SignInvestors responded favorably to Dunkin’ Brands’ (NASDAQ:DNKN) fourth-quarter and full-year earnings report, released before the markets opened on Thursday. Shares climbed about 3 percent in pre-market trading, buoyed by results that were more-or-less in line with expectations, and a 27 percent increase in dividends to $0.19 per share for the first quarter.

Highlights for the fourth quarter include 3.2 percent comparable-store sales growth and a 4.3 point bump in adjusted operating margins to 47.6 percent. Revenues were the weakest part of the report, falling 4 percent to $161.7 million, below expectations. However, echoing same-store sales growth and the margin increase, earnings climbed 13.3 percent to $0.34 per diluted share.

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For the year, same-store sales grew 5.2 percent on an adjusted margin of 46.3 percent, a 3.2 percent increase from 2011. Revenues climbed 6.1 percent to $658.2 million, and earnings grew 36.2 percent to $1.28 per diluted share. What’s more, the company opened 665 new restaurants around the world in 2012, including 291 in the United States. This is backed by a plan to expand into California, where the company is expecting to see a healthy reception.

Now, with another strong year under its belt, Dunkin’ Brands is getting ready to tackle 2013…

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