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Wendy's International, Inc. (NYSE: WEN - News) announced today sales results for 2002, the fourth quarter and December (period 12 ended on December 29, 2002).
Same-store sales for the year 2002 increased 4.7 percent at Wendy's® U.S. company restaurants and 7.1 percent at Wendy's U.S. franchise restaurants. Tim Hortons® same-store sales for the year increased 7.2 percent in Canada and 9.9 percent in the U.S.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jack Schuessler said: "Our operators and franchisees produced another outstanding year. Sales growth in 2002 at Wendy's and Tim Hortons was robust and well above industry trends. Our brands are very healthy and growing.
"The fourth quarter and the month of December were challenging, especially for Wendy's, due to the weakening consumer confidence, worse weather compared to a year ago and discounting in the quick-service restaurant industry. Additionally, during December a year ago Wendy's U.S. company restaurant same- store sales increased 6.3 percent."
The Company reiterated its 2002 guidance for earnings per share growth in a range of $1.88 to $1.90, a 14 percent to 15 percent increase over $1.65 a year ago. The Company's long-term goal for annual EPS growth continues to be in the 12 percent to 15 percent range.
"Despite the short-term issues, we are optimistic about delivering another good year in 2003. We are committed to our long-term strategic plan that emphasizes superior restaurant operations, quality products and further improving our competitive advantages," Schuessler said.
Wendy's national advertising during January highlights the chain's Super Value Menu(TM), which has 10 items priced at 99 cents everyday, such as chili, baked potato, fries, side salad and Frosty(TM) dairy dessert.
The Company continued to repurchase its common shares in the fourth quarter. During the quarter, the Company repurchased 872,000 shares for $24.7 million. For the year 2002, the Company repurchased 1.6 million shares for $49.4 million.