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Ruby Tuesday shares fall on plan to close stores

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Ruby Tuesday Inc. fell on the restaurant company's plan to close up to 24 more locations and sell one of its chains as increasing competition dents sales.

The company also posted a loss for its most recent quarter, which ended Dec. 4.

THE SPARK: Ruby Tuesday said Wednesday that it plans to shut one Wok Hay, two Lime Fresh, six to eight Ruby Tuesday and 13 Marlin & Ray's restaurants. The company will also seek a buyer for its two licensed Truffles Grill restaurants.

THE BIG PICTURE: Many casual dining chains such as Ruby Tuesday have been struggling over the past few years as consumers cut back on spending and switched to lower-priced dining options.

Rivals are increasing their advertising and offering promotions, making the restaurant business tougher, said Ruby Tuesday's new CEO James Buettgen in a conference call with analysts.

The company has already closed 29 of its namesake restaurants in the past year. The company owns or franchises 786 Ruby Tuesday restaurants and 22 Lime Fresh locations.

SHARE ACTION: Ruby Tuesday shares fell 47 cents, or 5.7 percent, to $7.84 in afternoon trading Thursday. The stock rose 14 percent in 2012, and had gained nearly 6 percent in January through Wednesday's close.