By Tracey Ryniec
Ruby Tuesday's (NYSE:RT) turnaround is going to take a while longer. This Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) struggled in the recent quarter and is now expected to lose money in fiscal 2014.
Ruby Tuesday operates 778 company-owned or franchise Ruby Tuesday brand restaurants in 45 states, DC, Guam and 11 other countries.
Big Miss in the Fiscal First Quarter
On Oct 9, Ruby Tuesday reported its fiscal first quarter 2014 earnings. It was coming off of a big miss in the prior quarter and is in the midst of a turnaround.
The turnaround appears to be postponed. Ruby Tuesday missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 21 cents. Earnings were -$0.26 compared to the consensus of -$0.05.
Same-restaurant sales fell 11.4% at company-owned restaurants and 8.4% at franchise restaurants. This was below the company's expectations.
The company said that the quarter was challenging due to the failure of the economy to improve.
It is doing a core menu transformation to spice things up and has already added pretzel burgers and flatbreads.
Fiscal 2014 will be Challenging
Ruby Tuesday has stopped giving forward earnings guidance while it conducts this turnaround but it does anticipate same-restaurant sales to be down high single digits in the second quarter with sequential improvement in the third and fourth quarter.
Same-restaurant sales are expected to be positive by the fourth quarter, however.
Earnings Estimates Slide
With the big miss and the lackluster guidance, the analysts lowered both fiscal 2014 and fiscal 2015 estimates.
Zacks fiscal 2014 estimate plunged to -$0.48 from $0.14 just 90 days before. It is an earnings decline of 308% from fiscal 2013.
While the loss is expected to be less in fiscal 2015, the analysts still see -$0.07 in 2015.
Shares At 1-Year Lows
Investors sold off the shares on the earnings miss. Shares have hit a 1-year low.
The Zacks Rank is a short-term recommendation. Ruby Tuesday has a longer-term turnaround plan. Still, with sales expected to be weak over the next few quarters, the turnaround in the shares is probably not going to be imminent.
In the casual dining sector, investors might want to consider Red Robin Gourmet Burger (NASDAQ:RRGB), a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), or Bob Evans Farms Inc. (NASDAQ:BOBE), a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), as alternatives.