Wendy's International ( WEN) affirmed today that its expected full-year 2003 results will meet analysts' expectations but said March comparable-store sales fell 3%.

The company expects to earn $2.02 to $2.08 a share in 2003, in line with analysts' consensus estimate of $2.03 a share. The company earned $1.89 a share in 2002. Wendy's said its long-term EPS growth goal continues to be 12% to 15%.

For the month ended March 30, same-store sales declined 3% at Wendy's U.S. company restaurants, compared with a 6.1% increase in the same period last year, the company said. Further, same-store sales at Wendy's U.S. franchise restaurants declined 1.7% compared with a 9.2% increase a year ago.

The Dublin, Ohio-based company said a weak overall economy, declining consumer confidence and concerns about the war in Iraq continue to present challenges to the restaurant industry. Other challenges were the cold weather in key company markets for Wendy's, severe winter weather in the Mountain states, and high gasoline prices in early March.

Shares of Wendy's were up a little more than 1% to $27.50.

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