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Steak n Shake sales, traffic rise

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Steak n Shake Co. yesterday reported big increases in customer traffic and same-store sales for its fiscal third quarter, which ended July 1. 

Customer traffic rose 13.4 percent and same-store sales jumped 5 percent in the quarter compared to the same period a year ago, it said.

The Indianapolis-based burger chain reported the figures in a brief Securities and Exchange filing. The company isn’t expected to release complete quarterly results until next month.

The rise in same-store sales doubled Steak n Shake’s increase from the previous quarter. The company saw same-store sales increase 2.4 percent in the fiscal second quarter, snapping a 14-quarter streak of declining same-store sales.

Steak n Shake classifies same-store sales as results from stores open at least 18 months.  

The positive numbers may reflect a turnaround for the struggling chain. It had reported same-store sales drops for three-and-a-half years.

The encouraging numbers also may be the result of heavy discounting. The chain has rolled out a number of lower-priced menu items this year, including $2.89 Steakburger snack meals.

Steak n Shake lost $9.8 million on revenue of $144 million in last year’s fiscal third quarter. It reported a profit of $2.3 million on $188 million in revenue in this year’s second quarter.

Company shares closed at $8.11 yesterday, down from a 52-week high of $12.10 in May.

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