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ORLANDO-Darden Restaurants is closing and selling stores in its money-losing Smokey Bones barbeque chain. Management deems the concept “not a meaningful growth vehicle for Darden,” says Drew Madsen, the company’s president and chief operating officer.

Darden is putting 73 Smokey Bones locations on the market and closing 54 units. It is also shutting its two Rocky River Grillhouse restaurants.

Executives are not saying how much they expect to get for the chain, but they plan to have the transaction completed during the fiscal year. Darden is taking a $260-million pretax charge as a result of the closings and sale.

Smokey Bones units in the Southwest and Texas are among the worst-performing units in the chain, executives say. Five of the restaurants Darden is closing are in Texas, though the rest are scattered throughout the East Coast, Southwest and Midwest.

Same-store sales were down 8% year over year at the Smokey Bones that the company is closing. Total sales in those units were about $2 million annually, as opposed to the $3.1 million that the more healthy locations bring in.

Darden executives are now focused on acquiring another chain that could turn into a growth concept for the company. Darden currently operates about 1,400 Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, Smokey Bones, and Seasons 52 restaurants.

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