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Sep 26, 2017

Freshii shares plunge on company's growth warning


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TORONTO – Shares of Freshii sank in early trading Tuesday after the restaurant chain warned its growth will be slower than expected, amid the closure of some stores and a reduced target for net openings this year.

The Toronto-based company's revised outlook was announced late Monday after the stock market closed. The stock (FRII.TO) was down 36 per cent at $5.61 as of midday Tuesday.

The stock began trading publicly in January at $12 after a $125-million initial public offering of its stock.

Freshii says it now expects between 90 and 95 net new openings for its 2017 financial year ending Dec. 31, down from the previous target of between 150 and 160 net openings including closures.

It now estimates there will be 369 to 376 Freshii stores systemwide by December, up from 345 as of Sunday.

Freshii also cut its sales growth target — now aiming for $275 million to $285 million by the end of fiscal 2019, compared with its earlier forecast for as much as $365 million — and cut its adjusted earnings forecast.

The company closed 17 of its non-traditional locations in Target department stores in the 13 weeks ended Sept. 24, which was the third quarter of fiscal 2017. One additional Freshii Target store will close by the end of this year.

Freshii also says that expansion in the United Kingdom and several U.S. states has been slower than expected because its multi-unit franchisees have been more conservative in their real estate selection than the company anticipated.

With files from BNN