A&W increases distribution as restaurants reopen, sales grow

A&W sales grow

A&W Revenue Royalties Income Fund says its same-store sales grew nearly 17 per cent in its latest quarter as COVID-19 public health restrictions eased, allowing the fast-food chain to reopen more restaurants and serve more customers.

The Vancouver-based company's gross sales in the royalty pool totalled $409.5 million for the three months ended Sept. 12, up from $340.6 million in the same quarter of 2020.

The company reported net income excluding non-cash items of $9.2 million for the third quarter, up from $7.7 million in the same period the previous year.

It says there were 994 open restaurants in the royalty pool at the end of the quarter, compared to 971 in 2020.

The company says its monthly distribution rate will increase to 15.5 cents per unit, up from 15 cents per unit, beginning with its October 2021 distribution payable Nov. 30.

A&W Revenue Royalties Income Fund owns the A&W trademarks used in the A&W quick service restaurant business in Canada.

In return for licensing its trademarks to A&W Food Services, it receives royalties equal to 3 per cent of the gross sales reported by A&W restaurants in the royalty pool.

Susan Senecal, president and CEO of A&W Food Services, said the company is pleased that the strong performance of the restaurants in the royalty pool supported another increase in the fund's distribution rate.

"Although we continue to face challenges related to COVID-19, we are pleased to report strong sales growth for the quarter and are delighted to have almost all of our restaurants back open," she said in a statement.

The fund said on Wednesday that only one location remains temporarily closed and is expected to reopen when permitted to do so.

Still, the company warned of ongoing uncertainty. It said the number of restaurants temporarily closed could increase again as the situation evolves in the next year or other restrictions are introduced.

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