Wendy's fries spicier, but not its earnings

Wendy's fries with skins debuted Nov. 11. A day later, Wendy's/Arby's Group announced disappointing earnings.

Lynne Sladky/AP
In this photo taken Nov. 10, a meal at Wendy's in Miami is displayed. A day after offering Wendy's fries with sea salt and skins nationwide, the operator of Wendy's and Arby's restaurants said it lost money in its third quarter, pressured by higher commodity costs and weak performances at both restaurant chains.

A day after rolling out spiced up Wendy's fries, the fast-food chain operator of both Wendy's and Arby's on Friday posted a small quarterly loss on weaker-than-expected sales and warned 2010 results would finish at the lower end of its previous forecast.

Wendy's/Arby's Group Inc, the No. 3 U.S. fast-food chain whose shares fell 5.4 percent in premarket trading, reported a third-quarter net loss of $900,000, or break-even on a per-share basis, compared with a net profit of $14.69 million, or 3 cents per share, a year earlier.

The quarter included net after-tax special charges of 5 cents a share.

Revenue fell 4.7 percent to $861.2 million, short of the $882.6 million analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S had expected.Wendy's/Arby's expects 2010 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to be at the lower end of it previous forecast for a decline of 3 percent to 5 percent.

[In its first redesign of its fries in 41 years, Wendy's is keeping the skin on and adding sea salt, the company said in a release. The natural cut fries debuted nationwide Nov. 11 and are expected to be in all Wendy's restaurants by the end of next week.]

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