Ruby Tuesday Inc.’s strategic review, which includes a possible sale of the casual-dining company, is “entering its final phase,” the company said Monday.
Maryville, Tenn.-based casual-dining brand announced March 13 that it had hired UBS as a financial advisor to investigate strategic alternatives after closing 103 restaurants since last August.
For the fourth quarter ended June 6, Ruby Tuesday reported same-store sales declined 1.6 percent, compared to a 3.7 percent decline in the same period last year.
“While the casual-dining environment remains challenging and highly competitive,” said Jim Hyatt, Ruby Tuesday president and CEO, in a statement, “we are pleased to have achieved a sequential improvement in same-restaurant sales and operating performance for the fourth quarter as we had expected.”
Hyatt said the company had launched a “Plan to Win” program to improve results.
“Based on learnings from the field and feedback from team members and guests,” Hyatt said, “we have developed our ‘Plan to Win’ road-map for the next 12 months.”
He said that plan includes improving the guest experience, increasing same-store sales growth and delivering profits.
As part of its 2018 plan, the company said, it is in the contract process to sell 21 properties with expected net proceeds of $28.2 million, or about $1.3 million per location. Ruby Tuesday completed the sale of 13 properties in fiscal 2017 and settled 32 or 61 leased properties that had been sold, the company said.
In releasing fourth-quarter earnings, the company said the strategic review was ongoing. “The board is focused on the completion of this process and remains dedicated to delivering value to its customers, franchisees, employees, and shareholders to better position the brand to achieve top line growth and higher operating profitability,” the company said
For the fourth quarter, Ruby Tuesday narrowed its loss to $8.7 million, or 14 cents a share, from a loss of $27.6 million, or 46 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenues declined 8.8 percent to $254.9 million from $279.3 million in the same quarter a year ago.
As of June 6, Ruby Tuesday had 605 restaurants systemwide, of which 543 were company-owned. During the quarter, the company closed one of its owned restaurants, and an international franchisee closed a unit.
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