(Adds analyst comment, changes dateline from CHICAGO; updates
LOS ANGELES, April 3 Wendy's International Inc
WEN.N said on Thursday that first-quarter sales at
restaurants open at least 15 months fell at both franchised and
company-owned locations, hurt by bad weather and an early
The hamburger chain operator reported same-store sales
declines of 1.6 percent at company-owned restaurants and 0.1
percent at those owned by franchisees.
The results from company restaurants were worse than
expected, UBS analyst David Palmer said in a client note.
"We believe the chain underperformed U.S. fast food trends
in the quarter," said Palmer, who expects the restaurant
segment to be up 1.5 percent for the quarter.
Dublin, Ohio-based Wendy's said Easter's shift into the
first quarter cut same-restaurant sales at company-owned
locations by 0.3 percent. Severe winter weather in the Midwest
and northern United States during March also hurt sales.
Still, the company said sales trends improved in February
and March, compared with January.
Wendy's directors have been weighing a sale of the company
since June 2007 under pressure from billionaire investor Nelson
Peltz, who has been pressing for a better financial
Peltz, whose Triarc Cos Inc owns the Arby's chain, has
offered to buy Wendy's and said he planned to seize control of
the No. 3 U.S. hamburger chain's board.
Still, Palmer said, Wendy's board has remained mum on its
"U.S. credit markets have largely frozen (hurting chances
of a re-cap), and executives are leaving the company," Palmer
He said the resulting distraction is hurting the chain and
benefiting rivals, including McDonald's Corp (MCD.N) and Burger
Wendy's shares were down 40 cents, or 1.7 percent, at
$23.48 in midday trade on the New York Stock Exchange.
Shares of McDonald's and Burger King were also in negative
territory, down 1.1 percent and 1.7 percent respectively.
(Reporting by Brad Dorfman and Lisa Baertlein, editing by Lisa
Von Ahn and Dave Zimmerman)