Così, Inc : Così, Inc. Reports 2013 First Quarter Results

          Così, Inc : Così, Inc. Reports 2013 First Quarter Results

CONTACT:    William Koziel
(847) 597-8800           

                Così, Inc. Reports 2013 First Quarter Results

DEERFIELD, IL -  May 16, 2013  - Così,  Inc. (NASDAQ: COSI),  the fast  casual 
restaurant company, today  reported a  net loss  for the  first quarter  ended 
April 1, 2013 of $(2,741,000), or $(0.15) per basic and diluted common  share, 
compared with the net loss of  $(1,128,000), or $(0.09) per basic and  diluted 
common share, reported for  the 2012 first quarter.  The calculated loss  per 
share for both quarters  reflects the impact of  the reverse stock split  that 
was effected on May 9, 2013.

Così's total revenues for  the 2013 first quarter  decreased by $3,112,000  to 
$21,561,000 from $24,673,000  in the  2012 first  quarter. Company-owned  net 
restaurant sales decreased by $3,067,000  to $20,854,000 from $23,921,000  for 
the 2012 first quarter.  Franchise fees and royalty  revenues for the  quarter 
contributed $707,000  compared to  $752,000 in  the 2012  first quarter.  The 
decline in revenues compared to last year's first quarter was due primarily to
the closure of company-owned and  franchise locations subsequent to the  first 
quarter of 2012, the decline in comparable Company-owned store sales and lower
royalties resulting from a decrease in comparable franchise restaurant sales.

System-wide comparable restaurant sales for the first quarter as measured  for 
restaurants in operation for more than 15 months recorded an aggregate decline
of 4.5% as compared to the first quarter of 2012. The breakdown in comparable
sales between Company-owned and franchise-operated restaurants are as follows:

For the 13 weeks ended
   April 1, 2013
Company-owned            (6.6%)
Franchise-operated            (1.3%)
Total System                (4.5%)

"We have  taken several  steps to  strengthen the  Così brand,  including  the 
launch of the "pop up"  pilot location last December,  and the opening of  our 
new  location  in  Columbus,  Ohio  next  month.  Our  focus  on  operational 
improvement is gaining  traction as  evidenced by the  comparable store  sales 
growth in our New  York City market. Despite  these "wins", our overall  first 
quarter results were unacceptable. In the  end, profitable sales must be  the 
measure of our success, and on that measure we have not succeeded," said Carin
Stutz, Così's President and Chief Executive Officer. "While we will  continue 
with our emphasis on operational excellence, we are re-evaluating our  ability 
to simply operate our way  back to profitable growth.  A number of our  units 
continue to drag down our portfolio of company-owned stores. We recognize that
our current  financial  performance  may  not allow  us  either  the  time  or 
resources to build our brand and accelerate our franchise growth while  fixing 
these underperforming units. We do have a core of well-performing,  profitable 
locations that prove to us that there continues to be great value in the  Così 
concept.  Our  franchisees  continue  to  perform  well.  Their  performance 
suggests that the franchise model  may offer superior financial results  while 
requiring less  investment capital  to  fund Così's  growth. An  emphasis  on 
franchising would also allow Così to  further reduce its cost structure.  All 
of this  is  driving us  to  carefully  re-evaluate our  entire  portfolio  of 
restaurants, to consider which should be closed or refranchised. Our  mission 
is to reconfigure our assets so that we have a long-term, sustainable business
that can support the growth of the Così brand."

2013 First Quarter Financial Performance Review

Così's aforementioned $3,067,000 decrease  in first quarter Company-owned  net 
sales as compared to the 2012 first quarter was due primarily to a  $1,597,000 
decline in net sales from six locations closed subsequent to the first quarter
of 2012 as well as  a 6.6% decrease in  comparable restaurant net sales.  The 
decrease  in  Company-owned  comparable  net  sales  during  the  quarter  was 
comprised of an 8.5% decrease in  traffic partially offset by a 1.9%  increase 
in average guest check.
 
For the first quarter, Così reported a  590 basis point increase in costs  and 
expenses related to  Company-owned restaurant  operations as  a percentage  of 
restaurant net  sales compared  with the  first quarter  of 2012.  The  change 
resulted from increases of 220, 210 and  160 basis points, as a percentage  of 
net sales, in  occupancy and  other restaurant operating  expenses, labor  and 
related benefits expense and the cost of food and beverage, respectively. The
increase in occupancy and  other restaurant operating  expenses and labor  and 
related benefits expense as a percentage of net sales was due primarily to the
deleveraging impact  of the  comparable restaurant  net sales  decline on  the 
fixed portion of these costs during the  period. The increase in the cost  of 
food and beverage as a percentage of net sales was largely due to higher costs
on certain commodities, primarily poultry and produce, the increased usage  of 
fresh vegetables primarily  in our  new bowl  products which  launched at  the 
beginning of the  year and the  launch of the  new bowl category  which has  a 
higher than average  cost when  compared to  the other  entrée categories  for 
lunch and dinner.

During the  first  quarter  of  2013, the  Company  reduced  its  general  and 
administrative expenses by $22,000, to  $2,757,000 or 12.8% of total  revenues 
from $2,779,000 or 11.3% of total revenues in the 2012 first quarter.

Così reported that as  of April 1,  2013 it had cash  and cash equivalents  of 
$12,136,000 and virtually no debt other than lease obligations.

About Così, Inc.
Così^® (http://www.getcosi.com)  is a  national fast  casual restaurant  chain 
that has  developed  featured foods  built  around a  secret,  generations-old 
recipe for crackly  crust flatbread. This  artisan bread is  freshly baked  in 
front of  customers  throughout  the  day  in  open-flame  stone-hearth  ovens 
prominently located  in  each  of  the restaurants.  Così's  warm  and  urbane 
atmosphere is geared  towards its sophisticated,  upscale, urban and  suburban 
guests. There  are currently  74 Company-owned  and 50  franchise  restaurants 
operating in  sixteen  states,  the  District of  Columbia,  the  United  Arab 
Emirates, and Costa Rica.  The Così^® vision is  to become America's  favorite 
fast casual restaurant  by providing customers  authentic, innovative,  savory 
food while remaining an affordable luxury.

The Così^®  menu features  Così^®  sandwiches, freshly-tossed  salads,  bowls, 
breakfast wraps, melts, soups,  Così^® Squagels^®, flatbread pizzas,  S'mores, 
snacks and other desserts, and a wide range of coffee and coffee-based  drinks 
and other specialty beverages. Così^® restaurants are designed to be welcoming
and comfortable  with  an eclectic  environment.  Così's sights,  sounds,  and 
spaces create  a tasteful,  relaxed ambience  that provides  a fresh  and  new 
dining experience.

"Così," "(Sun & Moon Design)" and  related marks are registered trademarks  of 
Così, Inc. in the U.S.A. and  certain other countries. Copyright © 2013  Così, 
Inc. All rights reserved.

"SAFE HARBOR" STATEMENT UNDER THE PRIVATE SECURITIES LITIGATION REFORM ACT  OF 
1995. This press release contains statements that constitute forward-  looking 
statements under the federal  securities laws. Forward-looking statements  are 
statements  about  future  events  and  expectations  and  not  statements  of 
historical fact. The words  "believe," "may," "will," "should,"  "anticipate," 
"estimate," "expect,"  "intend,"  "objective," "seek,"  "plan,"  "strive,"  or 
similar  words,  or  negatives  of  these  words,  identify  forward-  looking 
statements. We  qualify  any  forward-looking  statements  entirely  by  these 
cautionary factors.  Forward-looking  statements  are  based  on  management's 
beliefs, assumptions  and expectations  of  our future  economic  performance, 
taking  into  account  the  information  currently  available  to  management. 
Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause  our 
actual results, performance or financial  condition to differ materially  from 
the expectations  of future  results, performance  or financial  condition  we 
express or  imply  in  any  forward-looking  statements.  Factors  that  could 
contribute to these differences include, but  are not limited to: the cost  of 
our  principal  food   products  and   supply  and   delivery  shortages   and 
interruptions;  labor  shortages   or  increased  labor   costs;  changes   in 
demographic trends  and consumer  tastes  and preferences,  including  changes 
resulting from concerns over nutritional  or safety aspects of beef,  poultry, 
produce, or other  foods or the  effects of food-borne  illnesses, such as  E. 
coli, "mad cow disease" and avian influenza or "bird flu"; competition in  our 
markets, both in our business and  in locating suitable restaurant sites;  our 
operation and  execution  in new  and  existing markets;  expansion  into  new 
markets including foreign markets; our ability to attract and retain qualified
franchisees and  our franchisees'  ability  to open  restaurants on  a  timely 
basis; our ability  to locate suitable  restaurant sites in  new and  existing 
markets and negotiate acceptable lease terms; the rate of our internal  growth 
and our ability to generate  increased revenue from our existing  restaurants; 
our ability to generate positive cash flow from existing and new  restaurants; 
fluctuations in our quarterly results due to seasonality; increased government
regulation and  our  ability  to  secure  required  government  approvals  and 
permits; our ability to  create customer awareness of  our restaurants in  new 
markets; the reliability of  our customer and  market studies; cost  effective 
and timely  planning, design  and build  out of  restaurants; our  ability  to 
recruit, train and  retain qualified  corporate and  restaurant personnel  and 
management; market  saturation  due  to new  restaurant  openings;  inadequate 
protection of  our intellectual  property; our  ability to  obtain  additional 
capital and  financing;  adverse  weather  conditions  which  impact  customer 
traffic  at  our  restaurants;   and  adverse  economic  conditions.   Further 
information regarding factors that could affect our results and the statements
made herein  are included  in our  filings with  the Securities  and  Exchange 
Commission.

           Additional information is available on Così's website at
          http://www.getcosi.com in the investor relations section.

Financial Statements

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Source: Così, Inc via Thomson Reuters ONE
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