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Chili’s shows sales improvement on flat traffic

Sales at Chili’s restaurants open for at least 12 months rose year-over-year by an average of 2.2 percent during the quarter that ended March 25, led by a 3-percent gain in domestic franchised stores.

Company-run stores posted a 1.9-percent rise in comparable sales. The chain’s parent, Brinker International, said company stores’ traffic was virtually flat, with guest counts ebbing two-tenths of a percent.

Same-store sales for Maggiano’s, Brinker’s other restaurant holding, were basically flat, at one-tenth of a percent. Traffic for the Italian chain dipped 1.3 percent, Brinker said.

The company reported strong contributions from its new retail venture. Revenues for licensing the Chili’s name for grocery-store products, added to fees from the games on tabletop kiosks and increased royalties from international franchises, delivered almost a 12 percent gain to the company’s Other Revenues category.

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