MARYVILLE, Tenn. --(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Ruby Tuesday, Inc. (NYSE: RT) today announced that same-restaurant sales for Company-owned restaurants were -0.8% to -1.0% in the third quarter ended March 2, 2010, compared to the same quarter of the prior year. Severe weather during the quarter is estimated to have reduced same-restaurant sales by 1.5-2%. Same-restaurant sales at domestic franchised restaurants decreased 5.3-5.5% in the third quarter compared to the same quarter of the prior year.
Sandy Beall, Founder and CEO, commented, "We are excited about the trends we are seeing in the Ruby Tuesday brand. Our same restaurant sales have improved sequentially over the past five quarters and were the best they have been in three years, even increasing slightly in January and February, despite the worst weather in memory across many of our core markets. On top of this, comparisons were more difficult because we began to lap improving same-restaurant sales and guest traffic during the third quarter of fiscal 2009 as awareness of the "New Ruby Tuesday" grew in response to our marketing efforts. We believe that our key brand initiatives of "Uncompromising Freshness and Quality, Gracious Hospitality, a Fresh New Look and Compelling Value" are resonating with our guests. Our primary objectives going into fiscal year 2010 were to increase sales and traffic, maximize cash flow, reduce our debt and to further strengthen our brand and we are definitely delivering on these goals. While the macro-environment remains unclear, we are confident in our strategies. Our sales are strengthening, costs are in good shape, and guest satisfaction scores continue to be solid."
Ruby Tuesday will be presenting at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch consumer conference in New York City on Wednesday, March 10th at 11:45 a.m. The live presentation and subsequent replay will be available on the Investor Relations page of the Company's website.
The Company will report full third quarter results on Wednesday, April 7, 2010 after the market close.
Ruby Tuesday, Inc. has Company-owned and/or franchise Ruby Tuesday brand restaurants in 46 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and 14 foreign countries. As of March 2, 2010, the Company owned and operated 659 Ruby Tuesday restaurants, while domestic and international franchisees (including Hawaii) operated 168 and 57 restaurants, respectively. For more information on Ruby Tuesday, please visit our company website at www.rubytuesday.com. Ruby Tuesday, Inc. is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (Symbol: RT).
This press release contains various forward-looking statements, which represent our expectations or beliefs concerning future events, including one or more of the following: future financial performance and restaurant growth (both Company-owned and franchised), future capital expenditures, future borrowings and repayments of debt, availability of financing on terms attractive to the Company, payment of dividends, stock repurchases, and restaurant and franchise acquisitions and refranchises. We caution the reader that a number of important factors and uncertainties could, individually or in the aggregate, cause our actual results to differ materially from those included in the forward-looking statements (such statements include, but are not limited to, statements relating to cost savings that we estimate may result from any programs we implement, our estimates of future capital spending and free cash flow, and our targets for annual growth in same-restaurant sales and average annual sales per restaurant), including, without limitation, the following: general economic conditions; changes in promotional, couponing and advertising strategies; changes in our guests' disposable income; consumer spending trends and habits; increased competition in the restaurant market; laws and regulations affecting labor and employee benefit costs, including further potential increases in state and federally mandated minimum wages; guests' acceptance of changes in menu items; guests' acceptance of our development prototypes and remodeled restaurants; mall-traffic trends; changes in the availability and cost of capital; weather conditions in the regions in which Company-owned and franchised restaurants are operated; costs and availability of food and beverage inventory; our ability to attract qualified managers, franchisees and team members; impact of adoption of new accounting standards; impact of food-borne illnesses resulting from an outbreak at either Ruby Tuesday or other restaurant concepts; effects of actual or threatened future terrorist attacks in the United States; and significant fluctuations in energy prices.