Wendy's International, Inc. (NYSE:WEN) today announced preliminary average same-store sales for the first quarter of 2008, which ended on Sunday, March 30. Wendy's(R) first-quarter sales results were impacted by a calendar shift in 2008 with the Easter holiday.
Average same-store sales at U.S. franchise restaurants decreased 0.1% during the quarter, compared to an increase of 3.7% during the same quarter a year ago.
Average same-store sales at U.S. company restaurants decreased 1.6% during the quarter, compared to a 3.8% increase during the same quarter a year ago. Sales trends improved in February and March compared to January, as sales rolled over the strongest quarter of the previous year.
Preliminary First-Quarter Average Same-Store Sales Summary
1Q 2008 1Q 2007
U.S. Company -1.6 % 3.8 %
U.S. Franchise -0.1 % 3.7 %
Monthly Average Same-Store Sales Summary for January, February and March
Jan Jan Feb Feb Mar Mar
2008 2007 2008 2007 2008 2007
U.S. Company -3.8 % 4.8 % 0.4 % 3.3 % -0.8 % 3.6 %
U.S. Franchise -2.1 % 4.7 % 2.3 % 2.7 % 0.1 % 3.7 %
"We are focused on taking care of our customers and driving further improvements in all areas of our business," said Chief Executive Officer and President Kerrii Anderson. "We continue to concentrate resources to grow sales with innovative products, new customer service initiatives and advertising that more effectively drives purchase intent and highlights Wendy's superior quality."
Wendy's promoted its new Stack Attack(TM) double cheeseburger in January with a focus on offering value at 99 cents, which compares to the introduction of the $2.99 Deluxe Value Meals during the same period a year ago. During the Lenten season, the Company offered its new premium fish sandwich, featuring hand-cut and panko-breaded North Pacific cod, topped with tarter sauce and fresh lettuce. Wendy's recently introduced its Spicy Baconator(TM), a fiery extension of the popular Baconator sandwich, featuring six strips of bacon on top of two hot, juicy hamburgers with two slices of Pepper Jack cheese, chipotle ranch sauce and jalapenos.
The Company faced a calendar shift in 2008 with the Easter holiday falling in the first quarter (March 21-23), opposed to the second quarter a year ago. This negatively impacted same-store sales at company restaurants by an estimated 0.3% during the quarter. First-quarter sales also were impacted by the severe winter weather in March in the Midwest and North.
The extra day in February due to leap year had no impact on first-quarter sales, as the Company's fiscal calendar operates on a 5-4-4 basis resulting in an equal number of days in the quarter compared to a year ago.
The Company will introduce this week its high-quality Chicken Go Wraps, featuring center-cut, chicken breast fillets - available Grilled, Spicy or Homestyle - with cheddar cheese, fresh lettuce and Ranch or Honey Mustard sauce wrapped in a warm flour tortilla.
During April and May, Wendy's will offer for a limited-time its Southwest Chicken Caesar Salad, featuring seasoned, diced chicken, corn and black beans, and grape tomatoes on a bed of crisp Romaine lettuce - garnished with shredded natural Parmesan cheese and garlic croutons and served with a zesty Southwest Caesar dressing.
The Company recently introduced two quality breakfast products in about 1,000 restaurants that currently offer Wendy's new breakfast menu. The new Maple Baked Frescuit(TM) combines all the sweet & savory tastes of a homemade breakfast - like real Maple Syrup, fresh baked biscuits, eggs, cheese and either grilled sausage or hickory smoked bacon - all in a portable sandwich. Wendy's new Coffee Cake Muffin is served warm with a cinnamon crumble topping.
The Company launched in February its new advertising campaign - "Waaaay Better" - as an authentic voice for the Wendy's brand. The new creative ends with a tagline in the U.S. that reminds consumers "It's Waaaay Better Than Fast Food!(TM) It's Wendy's".
"The new advertising leverages our core strengths, reflects the honest quality that has defined our brand over the years and positions our quality food as the hero," said Anderson. "In addition, the advertising is intended to drive traffic and entice customers to visit Wendy's more often."
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