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PORTLAND, OR-McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants Inc. is ratcheting up expansion plans. New units opened in Boca Raton, FL; Cincinnati, OH and Burbank, CA during 4Q 2006, and another will open in Sacramento this week.

This year the company will open 11 new units in the US –six in existing markets and five in new ones. In addition, its $14.3-million acquisition of Vancouver, BC-based Boathouse Restaurants is expected to close in mid-March. A majority of the new domestic restaurant units will open in the final quarter of this year.

The “backloading of new openings,” Douglas Schmick, chairman and CEO, said during a conference call, “takes place in lifestyle developments in which developers may be a little behind on development. Then they try to open for the holiday season, so our units fall into the November/December scheme.”

The Boathouse acquisition marks the locally based restaurateur’s entry into Canada. There are five Boathouse units in operation and a sixth is under construction, scheduled to open in mid-July. During the conference call, Emanuel Hilario, CFO and VP of finance, said the five Boathouse units now produce $19 million in annual revenues.

The parent company “is continuing to generate strong cash flow from operations,” he said, which will fund from 13% to 15% growth per year. The goal is to grow the chain to between 150 and 200 McCormick & Schmick’s nationwide, Hilario said. There are currently 66 units in 24 states and the District of Columbia.

Revenues for full-year 2006 increased 10.6% to $308.3 million, compared with $278.8 million for the previous year. Schmick pointed out that 2005 contained 53 operating weeks, versus 52 in 2006. Revenues rose 13% in 2006, he said, after adjustments for the extra week in the prior year.

Comp restaurant sales were up 3% on a 52-week to 52-week comparison and up 2% for the fourth quarter. “This is the 14th consecutive quarter of positive same store sales growth,” Schmick said.

Operating income rose 15.8% to $19.1 million for 2006, compared with $16.5 million the year before, and net income increased 21.3% to $13.3 million, up from $11 million in 2005. Schmick pointed out that the increases occurred in a “challenging cost environment.”

More steaks will be added to the menu, but the overall menu “will be no less seafood centered,” he said. A culinary unit (for steak additions) is in place and will be in operation by mid-year.

Banquet sales accounted for 14% of total sales during 2006. The company’s customer loyalty program now has 8,500 registered members. “Our goal was 10,000 by April, and we’re on track,” Schmick said. “In 2007, we’ll have a nice library of customers,” and the company is developing special offers to bring those customers in more often.

The company expects 1Q 2007 revenues of between $81 million and $82 million and comp-restaurant sales increases of between 2% and 3%. For full-year 2007, including results from Boathouse, it anticipates revenues of between $362 million and $366 million, with comp-unit increases of from 2% to 3%.

Shares of MSSR on the Nasdaq closed at $25.07 a share, down 28 cents, or 1.1% for the day on Feb. 14. This compares with a 52-week low of $16.59 a share and a 52-week high of $28.24 a share.

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