Ruby Tuesday Inc. on Tuesday reported a worse-than-expected same-store sales decline of 1 percent at company restaurants for its Dec. 2-ended second quarter.
The decline was driven by a 1.3-percent slide in traffic, and the results were a disappointment given projections in October of a 1-percent to 2-percent increase for the quarter.
Full financial results for the quarter are scheduled for release on Jan. 8, and company officials said they would likely update guidance for 2015 at that time.
“Although our second-quarter same-restaurant guest count performance was in line with the Knapp Track industry benchmark, our same-restaurant sales results fell short of our expectations,” said J.J. Buettgen, Ruby Tuesday’s chair, president and chief executive.
The swing to negative results dampened momentum gained during a more positive September-ended first quarter, when Ruby Tuesday’s same-store sales rose 1.1 percent at company locations, with traffic rising 1.3 percent.
In October, however, the company said it planned to close as many as 16 of its casual-dining restaurants this year as part of its turnaround efforts. That move followed the earlier announcements that 30 underperforming locations would close.
The chain has also been revamping its menu to offer more variety, while simplifying kitchen operations. The goal is to reinvent Ruby Tuesday as a more casual, energetic and affordable brand.
Based in Maryville, Tenn., Ruby Tuesday has 749 locations, including 666 company-owned units and 83 franchised restaurants in 45 states and the District of Columbia, as well as 12 foreign countries and Guam. The company also operates and franchises 27 fast-casual Lime Fresh restaurants.