"Beware the ides of March" might be a little too strong for Wendy's
It was just last week that I couldn't resist covering Wendy's recent finger scandal -- and received emails from a few indignant readers with several lines of defense. However, regardless of whether the finger story had a gross-out effect on customers during recent weeks, Wendy's said same-store sales continued to lag. (Here's a flashback to February.)
In March, Wendy's overall same-store sales dropped 5.1%, compared with an admittedly tough 9.9% increase this time last year -- that is hard to beat. Meanwhile, the company guided expectations down for the first quarter of the year to below $0.42 per share.
Among the issues that have made the quarter a challenge, according to Wendy's press release, was the shift of the Easter holiday into the first quarter, the high price of beef, and expensing restricted stock.
The bright spot, of course, is Wendy's Tim Horton's chain, which produced same-store sales of 5.5%, compared with last year's 13.9%. However, compared with that growth driver, there's also the struggling Baja Fresh chain to contemplate.
What might be even more interesting will be checking out archrival McDonald's
Current Wendy's shareholders might do well with a wait-and-see attitude, but it seems like a tough time to justify a purchase. The stock is currently trading at 91 times trailing 12-month earnings, and with some questions about growth at the moment, it seems a pretty pricey time to buy in.
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.