Sunday, January 17, 2010

Early sales reports show chains still struggling

Early fourth-quarter sales reports suggest unemployment and anemic consumer spending have continued to hamper sales growth for restaurant chains.

With two investor conferences on the calendar last week, a number of restaurant companies released preliminary sales reports for the final quarter of 2009. Although many reported gains in total revenue from new restaurant openings, declines in same-store sales continued to stain companies' results.

Analysts had largely hoped to see some same-store sales gains in the last quarter of the year because of easy comparisons to the end of 2008, when consumers were still reeling from the financial crisis and the deepening of the recession, leading to some dramatic sales declines.

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