Burger King said Tuesday its fiscal fourth-quarter profit rose despite a drop in sales as costs fell in the United States.
The No. 2 U.S. hamburger chain earned $58.9 million, or 43 cents per share, in the three months that ended June 30. That compares with a profit of $50.6 million, or 37 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier.
Results beat Wall Street's estimate of 33 cents per share.
Revenue fell 2.4 percent to $629.9 million. Analysts had expected revenue of $632 million.
Same-store sales, or sales at locations open at least a year, slid 2.4 percent in the quarter.
The profit increase came even as sales at U.S. and Canadian restaurants open at least a year fell 4.5 percent, adjusted for currency fluctuations, because of the poor economy that's prompting more people to eat at home and promotions by competitors.
"Our financial fundamentals are solid and our cash flow continues to be strong," Chief Financial Officer Ben Wells said in a statement.
Miami-based Burger King said it added 115 net new restaurants during the period.
The company also said margins at its restaurants in the U.S. and Canada improved to 13.5 percent from 12.2 percent a year before.
For the year, Burger King's profit rose 6 percent to $200.1 million, or $1.46 per share, from $189.6 million, or $1.38 per share, in 2008. Adjusted 2009 profit of $1.48 per share beat analysts' forecast of $1.38 per share.
Annual revenue rose 3 percent to $2.54 billion from $2.45 billion, matching analyst estimates.
Burger King became a publicly traded company in 2006. The IPO, which at the time was one of the largest for the restaurant sector, raised nearly $400 million in net proceeds.
Since then, shares climbed to more than $30, up from the IPO price of $17, but then fell back to near their original offering price. Meanwhile, its No. 1 rival, McDonald's Corp., has seen its share price climb almost 62 percent in the same period while posting consistently strong results.
AP Retail Writer Vinnee Tong contributed to this report from New York.