Burger King's sales hurt by winter storms

MIAMI Burger King Holdings Inc. said same-store sales at U.S. and Canadian stores were hit hard by winter weather in January and February, but the nation's No. 2 burger chain has seen improvement in March.

The company pinned hopes for increased sales this spring on the “barbell” price offerings of its value Buck Double cheeseburger, to be introduced in April, and its premium Steakhouse XT burgers, which were rolled out in February, and bone-in ribs, which are to debut in May.

Snowstorms were especially severe in the central and eastern United States, where 75 percent of the company’s stores are located. Burger King said same-store sales in the United States and Canada were declined 8.2 percent for the two-month period ended Feb. 28, compared to an increase of 3.1 percent in the same period last year.

John W. Chidsey, Burger King’s chairman and chief executive, said sales have improved at company-owned stores in the United States and Canada during the first week of March "as the impact of weather has become less significant."

Global same-store sales for January and February fell 5.4 percent and were partially offset by positive results in the European, Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions. Last year, global same-store sales rose 2.5 percent in the same two-month period.

Chidsey said the new premium-product introductions, many made possible by the chain’s new batch broiler [3], “are expected to satisfy our guests’ indulgent tastes at affordable prices while building higher check.”

Later this month, Burger King plans to introduce its new BK Breakfast Muffin sandwich, priced at no more than a dollar, and the BK Breakfast Bowl.

The company said it would release full third quarter results on April 29.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected] [4].