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Wendy's International, Inc . (NYSE: WEN) announced today its preliminary sales results for the fourth quarter and December (Period 12), which ended on December 31, 2000. The company also announced today that it exceeded its goals for new restaurant development for 2000 and reiterated that it expects to report Base EPS growth for 2000 in a range of 17% to 19%.
At Wendy's(R) company operated restaurants in the United States, same- store sales grew by 3.2% in the fourth quarter, on top of a very strong 6.4% increase in the same quarter a year ago. Same-store sales were up 2.6% in December. At Tim Hortons(R) restaurants in Canada, same-store sales were up 8% to 9% in the fourth quarter, on top of a 6.6% increase in the same period a year ago. Same-store sales were up 7% to 8% in December.
At Tim Hortons in the U.S., same-store sales were up about 13% for the fourth quarter and 11% to 12% in December.
"We delivered a good overall sales performance in the quarter," said Jack Schuessler, chief executive officer and president. "Wendy's sales were solid on top of an outstanding fourth quarter a year ago. Tim Hortons continues to deliver consistently strong results. Our performance was encouraging considering the severe winter weather conditions throughout much of North America during December."
The company and its franchisees opened 545 new restaurants systemwide in 2000 (on a preliminary basis), the most in the history of Wendy's International, Inc. The development results, consisting of 360 new Wendy's and 185 new Tim Hortons, exceeded the company's previously stated goal of opening 500 to 520 new units systemwide for the year.
The company continues to expect to report earnings per share growth in the 17% to 19% range in 2000, excluding asset gains and a non- recurring charge for closing restaurants in Argentina. The company's EPS were $1.26 in 1999, excluding asset gains. The company generated $0.06 per share in asset gains during 1999 and $0.03 per share in asset gains through the first three quarters of 2000.
Wendy's 2001 goal and long-term goal for earnings per share growth continues to be in the 12% to 15% range. The company plans to publish its fourth quarter and year 2000 financial results on February 9, 2001. Management plans to host a meeting in New York with investors on February 12, 2001. The meeting will be accessible via a conference call and will be web cast on the Internet.
To access the company's web site or to listen to previous web casts, go to www.wendys.com  and select "investor information and news releases."