Fast-food restaurant chain Wendy's International ( WEN) said on Friday that November same-store sales rose 1% at its U.S. company restaurants. It also lowered its earnings outlook for fiscal 2002. The Dublin, Ohio-based company said the success of its premium sandwiches such as the Mozzarella Chicken Supreme and the Bacon Swiss Burger menu offset the effects of pricing pressure and bad weather. The company said sales at its franchised restaurants increased 2.5%. At its Tim Horton's locations in the U.S., sales jumped 4.7%, while climbing 4.2% in Canada. "We focused on further improving our restaurant operations and serving quality products, while our competitors resorted to discounting as a tactic," chairman and chief executive Jack Schuessler said in a press release. Looking forward, Wendy's dropped its earnings 2002 outlook to $1.88 to $1.90 a share, a 14% to 15% increase from the $1.65 it earned in the year-ago period. Prior guidance called for 15% to 16% earnings growth. On average, Wall Street analysts were expecting the company to earn $1.91 a share, according to research firm Thomson Financial/First Call. "The short-term challenges include discounting of premium products by quick-service, weak economic conditions in the U.S. and significantly worse weather in October, November and the first week of December," Schuessler said. The shares were losing 18 cents, or 0.7%, at $27.27 in afternoon trading on the
New York Stock Exchange . Heading into today's session, the stock was down 34% from its 52-week high of $41.60 set back in June.