Fourth quarter earnings for Ruby Tuesday, Inc. saw a significant loss. The fourth quarter period ended on June 4 and the report was released on Wednesday. The quarterly loss totaled $29.1 million, or averaged out to 49 cents per share. A year ago the company still had a loss during the same time period, but it was just $5.8 million, or 9 cents per share. The company owns both Ruby Tuesday and Lime Fresh brands.
To divide out the shares, the same-restaurant sales from locations that have been open at least a year were down 3.1 percent during the quarter while domestic franchise locations saw a 5.1 percent drop. J.J. Buetggen took over as the company’s CEO and president last December. He described the quarter as disappointing, but said brand progress has been made in efforts to reposition the company brand name for long term success. He said he believes positive results will be seen in the next fiscal year.
According to reports, year-end revenue dropped 4.6 percent from the previous year. Sales at company owned restaurants were down 1 percent for the year. According to Buettgen, the company has hired new leadership and closed non-core concept brands, including Marlin and Ray’s, Truffles Grill, and Wok Hay so there could be a greater focus on core business. He also noted the company has been making changes to the restaurant service and atmosphere, including the music, décor and lighting of the restaurants. There is also a menu transformation underway.
He said the company has “an exciting pipeline of food platforms and new items” set for introduction later in the first quarter. He indicated these changes could account for 15 to 20 percent of the menu mix for the chain.
“We have a pipeline of new products and initiatives that are ready to support meaningful change,” Buettgen said. He said they believe those products and initiatives will increase sales and increase the strength of the company’s business. He said those new menu items and other changes will be shown on the air and become available in restaurants during the first quarter.
Based in Maryville, Tennessee, Ruby Tuesday Inc. stock fell 63 cents per share, or to $8.45 in after hours trading on Wednesday. Analysts had expected earnings of 19 cents per share, or revenue of $331 million. Revenue dropped to $316.1 million from $357.9 million.
The company expects to move into positive territory by the second half of the year based on its new menu and the marketing plans it has in the works.
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