Dunkin' Brands Group Inc. (DNKN) barely beat the Wall Street forecast Tuesday, Feb. 6, reporting fourth-quarter earnings of 64 cents a share, compared with the anticipated 63 cents.
The donut chain posted a total revenue of $227.1 million, reflecting an increase of 5.3% since the same period last year and beating analysts' projected $220.6 million. Sales remained slow to grow: same-store sales climbed 0.8% in U.S. locations and 5.1% for its Baskin-Robbins locations. Dunkin' Donuts international saw more favorable sales growth at 1.6%, while Baskin-Robbins international rose 3%.
"Morning comparable store sales increased each quarter sequentially, and we had our highest quarterly beverage comparable sales of the year in the fourth quarter of 2017, driven by iced coffee and Frozen Dunkin' Coffee," CEO Nigel Travis said in a statement.
To increase afternoon traffic, the Canton, Mass.-based company will count on beverages and offer an all-day value food menu, Travis added.
In fiscal 2017, overall comp sales grew 0.6%, about in line with expectations. Revenue increased 3.8% to $860.5 million, and a total of 440 net new restaurants opened worldwide, including 313 Dunkin' Donuts in the U.S. Dunkin' grew its loyalty program to about eight million members this year, and saw its out-of-restaurant retail sales of consumer packaged goods increase by 30%.
In January, Dunkin' began offering rollout smaller menus without its afternoon sandwiches, smoothies, flatbread and bagels. Some of these reductions will be optional for franchisees, the restaurant said.
"We strongly believe the simplified menu, which is expected to roll-out nationally by the end of the first quarter, will improve franchisees' profitability and enable us to better serve customers," Travis said.
The company also announced Tuesday that it raised its dividend payable on March 7 to about 3 cents per share. Dunkin' shares were slightly down at market's close, trading at $59.71.