Ruby Tuesday Inc.’s losses widened in the second quarter ended Dec. 1 as it continued selling its remaining eight Lime Fresh Mexican Grill locations, the company reported Thursday.

The Maryville, Tenn.-based company said its net loss widened to $15.8 million, or a 26 cents a share, from $9.3 million, or 15 cents a share, in the same quarter last year. Revenue fell 0.6 percent, to $261 million, from $262.7 million in the prior-year quarter, with the company operating 20 fewer restaurants than in the same period last year.

Same-store sales in the quarter increased 0.8 percent, the company reported. Year-over-year guest counts declined 2.2 percent for the quarter, while average check rose 3 percent.

The company agreed in November to close 11 Lime Fresh locations and sell another eight company-owned units to Rubio’s Restaurants for $6.3 million. Eight franchised Lime Fresh units were not affected, the company said.

The company closed one Ruby Tuesday unit in the quarter as it continued to work on improving sales at the casual-dining brand. Same-store sales were positive for the second consecutive quarter, the company said.

“We believe we have the right strategy in place to achieve our guidance for the fiscal year and remain focused on our primary goal to deliver profitable and sustainable same-restaurant guest count growth which we believe will lead to more consistent same-restaurant sales performance,” JJ Buettgen, Ruby Tuesday chairman, president and CEO, said in a statement.

Buettgen said Ruby Tuesday would continue testing its Garden Bar initiative and remodeling program.

The company reduced its same-store sales guidance to flat to up 1 percent from an earlier forecast of flat to up 2 percent.

As of Dec. 1, Ruby Tuesday had 733 restaurants, of which 655 were company-owned, as well as the 16 Lime Fresh restaurants, which were in the process of being sold.

Contact Ron Ruggless at ronald.ruggless@penton.com.
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