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Denny’s expects highest annual same-store sales growth in decade

Denny’s expects highest annual same-store sales growth in decade

Company credits brand revitalization for strong fiscal year

Denny’s Corp. is expecting to end fiscal 2015 with its highest annual same-store sales growth in more than a decade, with systemwide domestic comparisons rising 5.8 percent, the company said Monday.

The preliminary results were released in advance of a presentation to Wall Street analysts at the annual ICR conference in Orlando, Fla., which began on Monday.

For the Dec. 30-ended fourth quarter, Denny’s said domestic systemwide same-store sales increased 2.9 percent, including a 2.8-percent increase for domestic franchised units and 3.5-percent growth at company locations, marking same-store sales increases for 18 of the past 19 quarters.

The 5.8-percent same-store sales increase for the year included growth of 5.7 percent for domestic franchised units and 6.5 percent for domestic company restaurants, Denny's said. It was the fifth consecutive year of positive annual same-store sales growth.

John Miller, Denny’s president and CEO, credited the Spartanburg, S.C.-based family-dining chain’s brand revitalization strategies that focused on improving food, service and atmosphere.

About 32 percent of Denny’s 1,710 restaurants have been remodeled with the new “Heritage” design, he said.

“Going forward, we remain focused on continuing the transformation of the Denny’s brand,” Miller said in a statement. “This will be achieved by consistently growing same-store sales, expanding our global reach and an increasing royalty rate, supported by further investments to grow and strengthen the Denny’s brand and returning cash to shareholders through our ongoing share repurchase program.”

During the quarter, Denny’s opened 14 restaurants, including three company units, in partnership with Kwik Trip convenience stores, and three international franchise locations. Four franchised units closed during the quarter.

For the year, 45 restaurants opened, including eight internationally. Thirty-seven locations closed, including 35 that were franchised or licensed, the company said.

Correction: Jan. 12, 2016 This story has been updated to reflect that it is Denny's annual same-store sales growth that is its highest in a decade, not its sales. 

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected].
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

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