Wendy's/Arby's misses, warns of rising beefs costs

By @ibtimes on

Wendy's/Arby's Group Inc's quarterly profit fell short of Wall Street expectations and the restaurant chain lowered its 2011 profit forecast citing rising beef prices.

The No. 3 U.S. fast-food restaurant operator, whose shares fell 2.5 percent, cut its adjusted earnings profit forecast for the year by $15 million on both ends to a range of $330 million to $340 million, but it left its same-store sales forecast unchanged.

Many restaurant chains are grappling with higher costs for ingredients like beef, bacon, cheese and produce.

During the first quarter, which ended April 3, sales at Wendy's franchised North American restaurants open at least 15 months were up 0.3 percent, and fell 0.9 percent at the outlets the company operates. The company takes in about two-thirds of revenue from the Wendy's chain.

Analysts were looking for a 1 percent rise in sales at established franchised Wendy's restaurants, and a 0.48 percent increase at company-owned units, Bernstein Research analyst Sara Senatore said.

At Arby's, overall same-restaurant sales were up 5.5 percent, beating Wall Street forecasts, as a turnaround effort at the chain takes hold. Analysts expected franchised units to report a 2.11 percent rise in same-restaurant sales, and a 1.76 percent rise at company-owned restaurants.

In April, that improvement continued with company-operated Arby's same-restaurant sales up 4.4 percent.

The company plans to sell its struggling Arby's restaurants.

Wendy's/Arby's reported a first-quarter net loss of $1.4 million, or nil cents per share, from $3.4 million, or 1 penny a share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, the company had a profit of 1 penny a share, missing Wall Street forecasts of 2 cents per share.

Shares were down 12 cents at $4.70 on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein and Phil Wahba; Editing by Derek Caney)

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