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The Wendy's Company (WEN) posted stronger-than-expected first quarter earnings Wednesday as North American sales gains offset a slide in international revenues. 

Wendy's said adjusted earnings for the three months ending in March came in at 14 cents per share, up 27% from the same period last year and 2 cents ahead of the consensus Street forecast. Group revenues, Wendy's said, rose 7.4% to $408.58 million and again beat analysts' estimate of a $398.58 million tally.

North American sales growth was pegged at 3%, the company said, a 20 basis point improvement from last year that helped offset a decline in international sales growth, which fell to 10.1% from 13.7%. U.S. same-store sales growth of 1.3% was largely in-line with analysts' forecasts. Looking into 2019, Wendy's said it sees global system-wide sales growth of between 3% adn 4%, with earnings per share growth of between 3.5% and 7% on an adjusted basis.

"We delivered strong earnings growth in the first quarter and are proud of our continued progress to build an even stronger foundation for the Wendy's brand," said CEO Todd Penegor. "We are executing on our plan to accelerate same-restaurant sales in North America and drive global restaurant expansion, fueled by a healthy restaurant economic model."

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"Our relentless focus on bringing every element of The Wendy's Way to life by providing food our customers love, friendly service, value, and an inviting atmosphere will continue to drive growth in the future." he added.

Wendy's shares were marked 1.46% higher at the start of trading Wednesday to change hands at $18.66 each, a move that would extend the stock's year-to-date gain to around 20% and value the Dublin, Ohio-based restaurant chain at just under $4.4 billion.

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