SAN ANTONIO-Luby’s Inc., the San Antonio-based chain of cafeteria-style restaurants, reported a lower loss and less revenue for the first quarter of its 2003 fiscal year. The company said a reduction in labor costs helped trim the loss.

The company said its labor costs, as measured as a percent of sales, fell to 31.4% in the first quarter ending Nov. 20 in comparison to 36.3% in first quarter 2002. During the quarter, the company converted more restaurants to all-you-can-eat buffet format and made efforts to increase food quality. Those moves increased food costs as a percent of sales to 28.4% in the first quarter from 25.9% in the 2002 first quarter.

Luby’s posted a loss of $3.1 million or 14 cents a share on revenue of $88.2 million in the first quarter. In the 2002 first quarter, it lost $8 million or 24 cents per share on revenue of $95.2 million.

Since Aug. 31, 2001, Luby’s has closed 22 restaurants. It operates 194 restaurants in 10 states. Of those restaurants, 124 are at locations owned by the company and about 70 are leased properties.

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