Dunkin’ Donuts same-store sales in the US rose by 3.2 percent in the fourth-quarter

At a Dunkin’ Donuts, Matt Zaborowski hands a coffee to a customer. (File photo: Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)
At a Dunkin’ Donuts, Matt Zaborowski hands a coffee to a customer. (File photo: Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)

Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc., the Canton-based parent of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, said fourth-quarter profit rose 196.2 percent to $34.3 million even as revenues declined by 4 percent to $161.7 million.

The profit jump is largely attributed to the fact that the company took a $19 million impairment charge in the fourth quarter of 2011.

When that charge is excluded, Dunkin’ Brands reported adjusted net income of $36.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2012 versus $36.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. But partly because of a stock-share buyback program, adjusted earnings per share was up about 21 percent to 34 cents, the company said.

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One reason for the revenue decline was a quirk in the calendar --- the fourth-quarter of 2011 had one more week that the fourth-quarter of 2012, the company said in a press release.

According to Dunkin’ Brands, fourth-quarter highlights included same-store sales growth of 3.2 percent for Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in the United States. Same-store sales are sales for stores open at least a year, and are generally considered to be an important measure of a retailer’s performance. One driver of fourth-quarter performance was “strong total coffee sales growth, led by flavored hot and iced espresso beverages,” Dunkin’ Brands said.

For full fiscal year 2012, the company reported system-wide sales of $8.77 billion, up 5.2 percent from the previous year. Net income for the full year was $108.3 million, up 214.5 percent, Dunkin’ Brands said.

“The fourth quarter was strong, and we finished 2012 delivering 15 percent plus adjusted operating income growth and nearly 40 percent adjusted earnings per share growth year-over-year,” Dunkin’ Brands chief executive Nigel Travis said in a statement. “We have the unique combination of strong brand heritage and significant U.S. and global restaurant expansion opportunities, which we are capitalizing on to drive profitable growth for both our franchisees and shareholders. Our contiguous, strategic development approach is working, and we’re excited to begin selling  Dunkin’ Donuts franchises in California. Despite macro-economic instability and a tough competitive environment, consumer and franchisee demand for Dunkin’ Donuts is high, our franchisee relationships are strong, and we continue to leverage our asset-light business model giving us confidence to target 15 percent plus adjusted earnings per share growth in 2013.”

As of Dec. 29, the last day of the company’s fiscal 2012, Dunkin’ Brands had 17,459 locations in nearly 60 countries. That total included 7,306 Dunkin’ Donuts locations in the US and 3,173 locations overseas. (All told, Dunkin’ Donuts ended its fiscal 2012 with 10,479 locations)

Baskin-Robbins, meanwhile, ended the year with 2,463 US locations and 4,517 overseas locations for a chain-wide total of 6,980.