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Ruby Tuesday shares fall after posting 1Q loss

MARYVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Shares of Ruby Tuesday Inc. fell sharply in after-hours trading Wednesday after the company posted a loss in its fiscal first quarter due to a weak economy that's keeping customers away from its restaurants.

The casual restaurant chain reported a loss of $22.2 million, or 37 cents per share, in the quarter ending Sept. 3. That compares to net income of $2.6 million, or 4 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago.

Analysts expected, on average, a loss of 5 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Revenue fell 11 percent to $289.7 million from $327.9 million in the first quarter.

Analysts expected revenue of $298 million, according to FactSet.

Sales at stores open a year fell 11.4 percent at company-owned restaurants, and fell 8.4 percent at domestic franchise restaurants.

"The first quarter was challenging as the overall economy failed to realize any significant improvements which adversely affected us and the casual dining industry," said JJ Buettgen, Ruby Tuesday's CEO and president.

Buettgen said that efforts to revamp the Ruby Tuesday brand seem to be going well. It launched burgers with pretzel bread and other new items in August. "Feedback from our guests has been encouraging," he said in a statement.

As it previously announced, Ruby Tuesday did not offer earnings guidance for the year as it tries to turnaround the company. But it said that it expects sales in restaurants open at least a year to be down in the "high single digits" in the second quarter. It expects some improvement in the third quarter and a rise in same store sales in the fourth quarter.

Ruby Tuesday has 778 namesake restaurants around the world. It also owns Lime Fresh, which serves Mexican style food. There are 29 Lime Fresh restaurants, mostly in the U.S.

Shares of the Maryville, Tenn.-based company fell $1.03, or 13.6 percent, to $6.52 in after-hours trading Wednesday. They rose 31 cents, or 4.3 percent, to close at $7.55 during regular trading hours.