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DUBLIN, OH-Fast-food chain Wendy’s International Inc. posted a preliminary same-store sales increase of 0.5% to 0.6% at its namesake US company and 0.9% to 1% at US franchised restaurants. At its Tim Hortons restaurants, the company is expecting a 6% to 6.1% increase in Canada and 8.1% to 8.3% at restaurants in the United States.

Kerrii Anderson, interim CEO and president, says the company’s second quarter marks the “best same-store sales period for the Wendy’s brand in more than a year and a half.” However, while executives gloat in the silver lining, the company’s Baja Fresh Mexican Grill continues to lag with same-store sales declining 5.5% to 5.8%. This follows the chain’s comp loss of 3.7% in the company’s first quarter.

In hopes of regaining investor confidence, company execs assure that they are on track to achieve $100 million in cost savings, thanks to approximately 115 full-time US employees electing to accept voluntary early retirement packages. The employees who accepted the voluntary early retirement packages comprise a fraction of the total 350 to 375 positions targeted in the company’s workforce reduction plan.

The company is now expecting to incur charges during the second quarter as a result of its voluntary early retirement plan, severance related to its planned reduction in workforce and other expenses related to the cost-reduction initiative. The charges, execs say, will contribute to a lower 2006 second-quarter earnings per share compared to the second quarter of 2005.

Additionally, in April, the company’s board of directors announced that it would spin off the 160 million shares of Tim Hortons that it currently owns. The shares represent an 82.75% ownership stake in Tim Hortons. The company is now targeting Oct. 1, to complete a spin off of Tim Hortons, assuming it has received from the IRS a ruling on the tax-free status of the distribution by that time.

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