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Dunkin' 1Q sales drive positive results

Company credits new menu items and limited time offers for increased average ticket

Dunkin’ Brands Inc., parent company of the Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins chains, cited product innovation and differentiated marketing as key drivers to a first quarter of improved sales.

The Dunkin’ Donuts U.S. market, which accounts for more than 70 percent of Dunkin’ Brands systemwide sales, posted a 2.8-percent increase in first-quarter same-store sales. The company said in a statement Thursday that the increase was driven by an increased average ticket it believes is based on new product rollouts.

Dunkin’ Donuts has been busy, with a new snack menu including stuffed breadsticks in cheeseburger or pepperoni-and-cheese flavors, and hot apple pie, as well as limited time offers like the Maple Cheddar Breakfast Sandwich and Sausage Pancake Bits. The 9,805-unit global quick-service chain also rebranded its bagel twists, available now in Cheddar cheese or cinnamon and raisin, to fit with its snack line.

Consolidated U.S. comparable-store sales increased 2.7 percent, reflecting a U.S. Baskin-Robbins same-store sales increase of 0.5 percent. The Baskin-Robbins chain totals 6,482 units globally. Global systemwide sales rose 5.4 percent to $1.79 billion, the company reported.

“Our strategy of driving comparable-store sales growth in our core U.S. markets, expanding contiguously in the U.S., and driving accelerated international growth across both brands continues to deliver strong results,” said Nigel Travis, Dunkin’ Brands chief executive. “We're pleased with our momentum, particularly as we head into key beverage and ice cream selling seasons.”

Last summer, Dunkin’ Donuts highlighted its Coolatta frozen drinks with such flavors as blue raspberry and watermelon. The chain also promoted a Mixology campaign, which allowed customers to mix and match flavors to create customized Coolatta frozen drinks.

For the quarter ended March 26, Dunkin’ Brands reported a 9.3-percent year-over-year increase in corporate revenue to $139.2 million. Operating income rose 33.3 percent to $44.1 million.

The Canton, Mass.-based company’s net income swung to a loss of $1.7 million from a profit of $5.9 million in the first quarter of last year. The company said the loss was a result of a non-recurring pre-tax charge of $11 million related to its debt re-pricing.

Contact Sarah Lockyer at [email protected].

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