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SCOTTSDALE, AZ-P.F. Chang’s China Bistro will begin ramping up the expansion of Pei Wei in the next two years, executives said at the company’s third quarter conference call.

After analyzing Pei Wei trends, the company feels comfortable beginning to expand the chain again, including entering the Chicago market, and other areas where Pei Wei has a presence, said CEO Bert Vivian.

“We turned off the capital spigot on Pei Wei,” Vivian said. “Now we think it makes sense. We’ve turned some of the real estate folks loose on some markets.”

But don’t expect a quick increase. The company currently expects to open five new Bistro restaurants and five new Pei Wei restaurants during fiscal 2010.

“It takes time to source real estate, negotiate lease documents and build restaurants,” Vivian said. “That time is about a year. I suspect 2011 will be the beginning for Pei Wei.”

Plenty of sites for a 3,000 square foot tenant are available, allowing Chang’s to be judicious with Pei Wei growth. Bistro expansion will focus on filling in existing markets.

Revenues were $290.3 million, down from $295.9 million in the third quarter of 2008. comparable store sales declined 8.5% at the Bistro and declined 0.7% at Pei Wei. Net income totaled $6.2 million compared to $3.0 million for the third quarter of the prior year.

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