Bloomin' Brands is closing 43 underperforming restaurants

Bloomin’ Brands closes 43 restaurants

Closures come as same-store sales at three of its brands fall

Bloomin’ Brands Inc. said on Friday morning that it has closed 43 underperforming restaurants amid persistently weak same-store sales at most of the company’s casual dining brands.

Same-store sales at its flagship Outback Steakhouse chain fell 4.8 percent, and declined 2.3 percent at Carrabba’s Italian Grill in the quarter ended Dec. 25. Same-store sales fell 1.9 percent at Bonefish Grill, but increased slightly, 0.2 percent, at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse. 

Bloomin’ Brands has more than 1,500 locations systemwide.

“Although 2016 was a challenging year for both Bloomin' Brands and the industry, we made real progress on our strategy to reallocate spending away from discounting toward investments to strengthen brand health, " Liz Smith, CEO of Bloomin’ Brands, said in a statement.

"We are pleased with how our brands are performing so far in 2017, particularly at Outback where we believe our investments are beginning to gain traction." 

It’s uncertain what brands are affected by the closures, but a few local reports of closures at Carrabba’s and Bonefish started coming out late on Thursday as the company started closing restaurants.

Bloomin’ Brands recorded a net loss of $4.3 million, or 4 cents per share, down from a profit of $17.7 million in the same period a year ago, or 15 cents. Revenues at the company fell 4 percent to $1 billion from $1.05 billion.

Casual dining chains have been struggling recently amid a weak restaurant environment, as consumers shift spending to quick-service and fast casual restaurants or opt to stay home altogether. That has led to more closures — Ruby Tuesday and Ignite Restaurant Group Inc., among others, have closed restaurants, as has the fast-casual chain Noodles and Co.

Contact Jonathan Maze at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter at @jonathanmaze

TAGS: Finance
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