Wendy's International, one of the world's largest restaurant operating and franchising companies, has announced sales results for the month of March. Additionally, management announced that Q1 sales and earnings performance was stronger than expected and raised its goal for 2002 EPS growth.

Same-store sales for the March period increased:

6.1% at Wendy's® US company restaurants.
7.7% at Tim Hortons® restaurants in Canada.
10% at Tim Hortons restaurants in the US.

Chairman and CEO Jack Schuessler commented: "We produced outstanding sales results in March, following good performance in January and February.

"Our Wendy's and Tim Hortons brands have excellent momentum as we continue to focus on restaurant operations and quality food. Sales of our new Garden Sensations(TM) salads at Wendy's are robust and meeting our expectations. The salads are the latest example of our focus on utilising consumer research and disciplined product development to grow sales and profits."

Due to stronger than expected sales and good cost controls, management expects to report Q1 earnings per share of US$0.39, which would be an 18.2% increase over US$0.33 per share a year ago. Excluding a US$0.01 asset gain in the 2001 Q1, EPS growth would be 21.9%.

"This was a high quality quarter," said Schuessler. "Our core businesses of Wendy's US and Tim Hortons Canada continued to perform well, and our Tim Hortons business in the US is rapidly improving with great sales and consumer acceptance.

"Our results were especially strong considering that there was further weakening of the Canadian dollar during the quarter. Tim Hortons Canada generates about one third of our pretax income," said Schuessler. "We also had some additional training costs in the quarter associated with the rollout of Garden Sensations at Wendy's."

The company plans to publish its Q1 2002 financial results on 1 May 2002, during its Annual Meeting of Shareholders in Columbus, Ohio. The annual meeting will be webcast beginning at 10:00am (EDT).

Company raising 2002 earnings per share goal

"Our previous EPS goal for 2002 was a range of US$1.83-US$1.88, up 11% to 14% from US$1.65 in 2001," said executive VP and CFO Kerrii Anderson: "With our strong Q1, our new EPS goal is a range of US$1.85-US$1.90, up 12% to 15% from a year ago.

"We do have a number of challenges in the second quarter, as we produced our best same-store sales growth during the same quarter in 2001. We also had two cents per share in asset gains in the Q2 a year ago, and we expect the Canadian dollar to remain weak," Anderson said. "Overall, we are optimistic about our business and expect our strong growth to continue in the second half of the year. The economy is strengthening and we are working diligently on our strategic growth plan."

2002 analyst and investor meeting scheduled for May

The company's 2002 Analyst and Investor Meeting is scheduled for 22-23 May in Toronto, Canada. The meeting will feature Tim Hortons, and will be web cast for analysts and investors.