Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Sales up at Burger King, profit misses view

October 31, 2008

Check Out Burger King missing Wall Street views but saying sales grew 12 percent worldwide, with sales at restaurants open at least a year up 3 percent in the United States and Canada.

Lower-cost fast-food chains have benefited in the economic downturn, while higher-priced sit-down restaurant chains like Applebee’s and Chili’s Grill & Bar have been hit particularly hard, as consumers slash discretionary spending to adjust to falling home prices, a credit crunch and higher food and fuel costs.

The home of the Whopper hamburger has been sprucing up aging restaurants, extending hours and adding value menu items to better compete with rivals like McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC.

Burger King maintained its forecast of opening 350 to 400 new restaurants next year, a sign it is hopeful hungry people in a hurry will continue to order items like the 11,500-store chain’s flame-broiled burgers, Big Fish sandwich and newer offerings like its Angus beef burger.

Also in the basket:

L’Oreal shares fall on sales warning (Reuters)

Puma lifts ’08 sales outlook, mum on profit (Reuters)

Who shrank the economy? Food prices dent U.S. growth (Reuters)

(Photo/Reuters)

(Added details on restaurant chains)

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