Bloomin' Brands to Shutter 43 Restaurants
Bloomin' Brands, Inc. reported results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended December 25, 2016 compared to the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended December 27, 2015.
Highlights for Q4 2016 include the following:
Repurchased 1.8 million shares of common stock for a total of $35 million.
Reported combined U.S. comparable restaurant sales down 3.5 percent.
Reported comparable restaurant sales for Outback Steakhouse in Brazil up 6.1 percent.
Opened 16 new restaurants, including 10 in international markets.
Highlights for Fiscal Year 2016 include the following:
Repurchased 16.6 million shares of common stock for a total of $310 million.
Generated $560 million in gross sale-leaseback proceeds.
Reported combined U.S. comparable restaurant sales down 1.9 percent.
Reported comparable restaurant sales for Outback Steakhouse in Brazil up 6.7 percent.
Opened 42 new restaurants, including 30 in international markets.
"Although 2016 was a challenging year for both Bloomin' Brands and the industry, we made real progress on our strategy to reallocate spending away from discounting toward investments to strengthen brand health, " says Liz Smith, CEO. "We are pleased with how our brands are performing so far in 2017, particularly at Outback where we believe our investments are beginning to gain traction."
In fiscal 2016, the company sold 159 restaurant properties for gross proceeds of $560 million. The company used a portion of these proceeds to pay down substantially all of its bridge loan, of which $28 million remains outstanding as of February 17.
Dividend Declaration and Share Repurchases
On February 15, 2017, the company decided to close 43 underperforming restaurants. In connection with these closures, the company recognized pre-tax asset impairments of $46.5 million during Q4 2016, which includes three restaurants that closed in the fourth quarter. The company expects to incur charges between $16 million to $19 million in fiscal year 2017 with the majority of these expenses occurring in the first quarter.