MARYVILLE, TN-Facing a slow economy and the possibility of violating its debt covenants in the next 12 months, Ruby Tuesday likely will not open new company-owned units in 2009, executives said at the chain’s second quarter conference call.

The chain plans approximately 20 company-owned openings and 15 to 20 franchise openings for the year. In addition, it will complete its remodeling program this year. But the company will open none to a maximum of 10 new restaurants in 2009 and beyond, as the company looks to grow through increased sales at existing units. Franchisers will open up to 20 new units.

“Demand and supply have increasing gone out of balance,” said Sandy Beall, founder and CEO. “We probably should have pulled back to zero growth sooner.”

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