Wendy's/Arby's Group reduces net loss in 1Q

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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ATLANTA – Wendy's/Arby's Group, Inc., the third-largest quick-service restaurant company in the US, announced for the first quarter ended April 3 a net loss of $1.4 million, or $0.00 per share. Its first quarter 2010 net loss was $3.4 million, or $0.01 loss per share.

Consolidated revenues were $847.8 million, an increase of 1.2 percent compared to first quarter 2010 revenues of $837.4 million. Adjusted EBITDA was $83.5 million, excluding net special charges totaling $0.1 million, and decreased 9.3 percent as compared to first quarter 2010 adjusted EBITDA of $92.1 million, excluding net special charges totaling $7.8 million.

"First quarter adjusted EBITDA was in-line with our expectations,” said Roland Smith, president and CEO of Wendy's/Arby's Group. “Wendy's generated positive systemwide same-store sales in the US, offset by softness in Canada. Arby's continued to build sales momentum and posted strong systemwide same-store sales growth in North America.

"In the first quarter, we continued to invest in our business as we position the Wendy's brand for 10 percent to 15 percent average annual EBITDA growth in 2012 and beyond,” he added. “To that point, we are focused on Wendy's 'Real' brand positioning and our superior food quality. Later this year, we will introduce completely new, core menu items including Dave's Hot 'n Juicy cheeseburgers and a line of premium chicken sandwiches.

“Our 'Real' brand positioning also includes an ongoing commitment to the salad category with innovative products like our Berry Almond Chicken Salad we will introduce this summer,” he continued. “Breakfast is also a major initiative for Wendy's and we expect to be serving our new breakfast in approximately 1,000 restaurants by the end of the year. Customer acceptance of our new breakfast menu is very encouraging and we're pleased that sales volumes are meeting expectations and growing. Investing in breakfast and other new Wendy's menu items is a great use of our capital. We expect these investments to generate long-term organic growth and leverage our existing store base.

Progress continues at Arby's, "In the first quarter, top-line performance was very strong with North America systemwide same-store sales of 5.5 percent,” Smith said. “Sales were driven by our everyday dollar value menu, the introduction of our 'Good Mood Food' brand positioning and the successful launch of our new Angus Three Cheese and Bacon Sandwich. We expect to generate strong sales growth at Wendy's for the remainder of the year driven by exciting new product introductions, including hamburgers, chicken and salads, in addition to strategic price increases. Margins will be negatively impacted by increases in commodity costs primarily driven by unprecedented beef prices that are affecting the restaurant industry.”

The Arby's turnaround is progressing nicely and the company plans to resume its stock buyback program after the conclusion of the strategic alternatives process, subject to market conditions.
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