Financial News--AFC Enterprises, Advantica, McDonald's, Nathan's Famous, Panera Bread, Pet Valu, Rubio's

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Chicago-AFC Enterprises Inc., parent company of Church's Chicken, Cinnabon, Popeye's Chicken & Biscuits and Seattle's Best Coffee, announced that second-quarter earnings rose on strong franchise revenues and lower interest expenses. The franchisor reported net income of $9 million, up from $5.8 million a year ago.

Franchise-related revenue, including fees from the sale of 37 company-owned units to franchisees, helped boost operating earnings and margins in the second quarter, AFC said. -Reuters

Spartanburg, South Carolina-Advantica Restaurant Group Inc., owner of the Carrows, Coco's and Denny's restaurant brands, reported systemwide sales increases of approximately 4 percent to $578 million for the second quarter, compared with $557 million in 2000. -Advantica Restaurant Group

Oak Brook, Illinois-McDonald's Corp., reporting a 16-percent earnings drop that marked its third straight quarter of decreased profits, said it could shutter 250 underperforming restaurants in "emerging markets."

In commenting on the second-quarter results in a conference call with analysts, the industry's biggest chain was unspecific about the locations of the 250 units potentially earmarked for closure. One analyst reported that most of the shuttered stores could be in economically troubled countries in Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Asia/Pacific region. -Nation's Restaurant News

Westbury, New York-Nathan's Famous Inc. reported that earnings before taxes for the quarter ended June 24 increased by 36 percent to $1,713,000 as compared to $1,251,000 for the quarter ended June 25, 2000. -Business Wire

St. Louis-Panera Bread Co. reported that systemwide sales increased 3.3 percent for the four weeks ending July 14. For the 12 weeks ending July 14, systemwide comparable store sales increased 5.7 percent. Sales at franchised units rose 3 percent in the four-week period and 5.6 percent in the 12-week period. -PR Newswire

Markham, Ontario-Pet Valu Inc. announced its ninth consecutive quarterly improvement in new income and cash flow compared to prior year results. Net income improved by 60 percent to a loss of $200,000 for the quarter as compared to the second quarter of fiscal 2000. Gross profits were impacted by fewer franchise sales resulting in lower initial franchise fees. -Pet Valu Canada Inc.

Carlsbad, California-Rubio's Restaurants Inc. said that its second-quarter earnings rose 17 percent from a year earlier, boosted by higher revenues and cost containment. Earnings rose to $798,000 from $701,000 a year earlier. -Reuters

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