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SCOTTSDALE, AZ-The operator of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro and Pei Wei diners earned 31 cents per share in the third quarter ended Oct. 2, the same as in last year’s third quarter, on sales that edged up slightly. The company, which blamed some of its lackluster performance on recent hurricanes, plans 19 new Bistro restaurants and 30 new diners next year.

P.F. Chang’s revenue grew to $8.4 million in the quarter, compared with $8.2 million in the third quarter of 2004, with the company citing the closing of its Bistro restaurant in Metairie, LA as one of a number of reasons for flat sales. It has also lowered its fourth quarter revenue expectations from $219 million to $214 million, in part due to the closing of the Louisiana restaurant as well as locations in Florida.

Nonetheless, the hurricanes were just one part of the problem at the restaurant company during the quarter, according to Robert Vivian, its president. Vivian said during Wednesday’s regular quarterly conference call that P.F. Chang’s performed at a less than stellar level even without the impact of the hurricanes.

“It was not a high-quality quarter by any stretch of the imagination,” Vivian said, adding that the company was not going to use the hurricanes as a scapegoat. “The weather simply eliminated our capacity to improve our performance during the quarter,” he said. As of Wednesday, three of the restaurant company’s Bistros and one of its Pei Wei diners were closed due to lack of power and two were “limping along due to a mandated curfew” that reduced the hours of operation, Vivian said.

“The last three months have been as challenging a period for our company as any three-month period to date,” Vivian said. “Although our financial statements reflect some of our struggles, they do not capture the magnitude of personal sacrifice that many of our employees have borne and continue to bear as a result of the hurricanes.”

P.F. Chang’s expects to improve as time goes on however, projecting an increase in revenue of about 20% in fiscal 2006, based on an increase in new restaurants. It said in Wednesday’s conference call that it plans 19 company-owned Bistros, one joint-ventured Bistro, 30 new Pei Wei Asian Diners and one Taneko Japanese Tavern next year.

In addition to discussing financial results, the company said that it has started a search for a replacement for its CFO, Kristina Cashman, who has announced that she will leave the company to spend more time with her family. P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Inc. owned and operated 125 of the Bistros and 68 of the Pei Wei Diners as of the end of the third quarter.

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