Wendy’s (WEN) sales climbed ahead of Wall Street expectations in the fourth quarter on renewed demand for its Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy cheeseburger line, however its shares slipped on a 30% drop in profit.
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The Dublin, Ohio-based fast-food chain posted income from continuing operations of $4.3 million, or a penny a share, compared with $6.1 million in the year-earlier period. Adjusted, the company earned 4 cents, matching average analyst estimates in a Thomson Reuters poll.
Revenue for the three-month period was up 5.6% to $615 million, beating the Street’s view of $613 million on new products and higher average checks.
Sales at stores open more than a year grew at the strongest rate since the second quarter of 2004, an achievement the company attributed to the success of its “Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy cheeseburger line.
Wendy’s North America systemwide same-store sales grew 4.4%, while those at company-operated restaurants increased 5.1%.
Chief executive Emil Brolick said the company is expecting another positive year in 2012, with same-store sales growth in the range of 2% to 3% and adjusted earnings in the range of $335 million to $345 million.