SIR Royalty, company behind Jack Astor's, others, ups monthly distribution 8%

BURLINGTON, Ont. - SIR Royalty Income Fund (TSX:SRV.UN) is increasing its monthly distribution by eight per cent as the restaurant trust has reported a five per cent increase in pooled revenue in the first quarter.

SIR Royalty, whose banners include Jack Astor's, Alice Fazooli's and Canyon Creek among others, says the distribution will increase to 9.5 cents per unit from 8.8 cents effective in June.

Meanwhile, the company says net earnings for the fund were $1.5 million or 24 cents per unit in the quarter, compared with $1.4 million or 26 cents per unit in the same 2012 period.

Pooled revenue increased to $54.7 million from $52.1 million in the first quarter of 2012, while same-store sales declined 2.2 per cent for royalty pooled restaurants.

The company blamed the decrease in same-store sales on one less day in the period compared with 2012, which was a leap year, as well as what it called "exceptionally favourable weather" in the comparable period.

Jack Astor's, which accounted for about 74 per cent of pooled revenue in the quarter, experienced a same-store sales decline of 0.6 per compared with last year's strong quarter, the company said.

Canyon Creek and Alice Fazooli's reported declines in of 8.2 and 10.6 per cent respectively, while signature restaurants in downtown Toronto — Reds, Far Niente/FOUR/Petit Four, and the Loose Moose Tap