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Wendy's Shows Improvement

The burger chain posts a profit beat and predicts full-year earnings at the high end of views.


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reported a 22% rise in third-quarter earnings from continuing operations, with a new pricing plan helping to improve margins and offset flat revenue.

The burger chain -- currently on the selling block -- reported third-quarter income from continuing operations of $28.8 million, or 33 cents a share, up from $23.7 million, or 20 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding restructuring costs and charges tied to the company's board review of alternatives, earnings jumped 55% to $38.6 million, or 44 cents a share.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial, who typically exclude charges from their estimates, had an average estimate for earnings of 33 cents a share.

These results exclude gains from discontinued operations. Last September, the company spun off its

Tim Hortons


doughnut chain, and it has since sold its Baja Fresh and Café Express concepts as well.

Including income from these items, Wendy's third-quarter earnings under generally accepted accounting principles fell to $29.9 million, or 34 cents a share, from $69.2 million, or 58 cents a share, a year earlier.

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Wendy's revenue inched up to $631.1 million from $630.1 million last year, helped by a rise in franchise revenue. Sales at its restaurants slipped to $554.8 million from $556.7 million the prior year.

Average same-store sales at U.S. company-operated restaurants increased 0.2% for the quarter.

Wendy's company-operated margins on earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 270 basis points company-wide and 330 basis points in the U.S. Wendy's attributed the growth to labor efficiencies and menu price increases, which helped offset rising commodity costs.

Wendy's, the nation's No. 3 burger chain behind


(MCD) - Get Report


Burger King


, has shifted its menu strategy to price items relative to the competition in each region.

For the full year, Wendy's expects earnings near the high end of its prior projection of $1.09 to $1.23 a share. Analysts expect earnings of $1.13 a share.

While Wendy's expects profits to be at the high end of its guidance, that forecast was well below its original views. The company slashed its guidance in June, citing weak sales and rising costs. At the time, the company also said it was exploring a sale.