Dave & Busters

DALLAS-Dave & Buster’s has signed deals for four new stores in 2008 and already has letters of intent in the works for new locations in 2009, the company said Tuesday in its earnings conference call for the third quarter, in which it lost $11.2 million. The chain of restaurant and entertainment centers, coming off a strong third quarter in comparable store sales for the period ended Nov. 4, has said previously that it expects to open three to five new stores per year. Steve King, CEO of Dave & Buster’s, said in Tuesday’s conference call that the chain is still sticking with that figure for its anticipated growth in the next several years.

King said that Dave & Buster’s, which operated 49 locations at the end of the quarter, “has signed four deals that could potentially be open next year and feel confident that at least three of the four, if not all four, will open.” The agreements are for large stores in suburban Philadelphia and Dallas, with smaller stores in Tulsa, OK and Richmond, VA, King said. These openings will follow the company’s recent opening of one of its large-format, 56,000-sf stores in Tempe, AZ.

In addition, the Dave & Buster’s CEO commented, “The pipeline for 2009 looks good, with several letters of intent already signed, and we are focused on building the people systems to support our accelerated new store growth.” New store growth was one of the factors accounting for the chain’s growth in third-quarter revenues, which climbed 6.4% to $123.7 million in this year’s third quarter, in comparison with the third quarter of 2006.

Higher comparable store sales also contributed to the overall higher revenues for the quarter, noted Brian Jenkins, the company’s CFO. Jenkins cited the Dave & Buster’s 3.1% increase in comparable store sales as one of the chief factors in the higher revenues for the quarter, noting that total food and beverage revenues increased 3.6%, while revenues from amusements and other sources increased 9.9%. King pointed out that the higher comp sales came during difficult times that have dampened the results of other retail and restaurant chains in recent months.

This year’s third-quarter loss compared with a loss of $5.2 million in the comparable period last year. Despite the loss, company officials said the company is performing well from a sales standpoint and is in a solid cash position.