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Wendy's stock falls nearly 3 percent as investors fret weakening sales trends

A Wendy's restaurant in Dublin, Ohio.
Justin Solomon | CNBC
A Wendy's restaurant in Dublin, Ohio.

Wendy's shares tumbled 2.75 percent on Wednesday after the burger chain reported disappointing same-store sales at its North America division.

Same-store sales in North America rose 0.4 percent in the second quarter, missing the 1.9 percent rise analysts polled by research firm Consensus Metrix had expected.

"While Wendy's does not say this, we believe that July was the worst month for U.S. quick-service burger-sector same-store sales so far this year, modestly worse than the previous worst months of April and May, albeit still in modestly positive territory," Mark Kalinowski, a Nomura analyst, wrote in a research note Wednesday. "This may not bode well for the rest of 2016 — specific to Wendy's, as it laps the nationwide rollout of the '4 for $4' bundled meal in Q4."

Wendy's blamed declining grocery prices as a catalyst for diners opting to eat at home more often. The company also cut its estimated same-store sales growth for 2016 to a range of 1 percent to 2 percent from the 3 percent rise it had previously forecast.

"In the face of challenging industry conditions, we remain confident that Wendy's can win in the [quick-service restaurant] space," Todd Penegor, Wendy's CEO, said in a statement. "...In the second quarter, we were able to maintain strong performance on the bottom line even as sales came in lower than we anticipated."

Slowing same-store sales has been an issue for major chains industrywide in the second-quarter. McDonald's, Dunkin' Brands, and Starbucks all reported weaker-than-expected growth in this area, citing minimum-wage increases, competition with grocery stores and meal delivery programs and higher menu prices as major headwinds.

Revenue decreased 21.8 percent year over year for the burger chain, from $489.5 million to $382.7 million. Wendy's attributed the decline to it owning 361 fewer restaurants in the second quarter of 2016 compared to the year-ago period.

However, the restaurant's second-quarter revenue beat analyst expectations of $367.6 million, according to Thomson Reuters.

Wendy's has plans to sell 315 restaurants to franchisees this year. Through the end of the second quarter, 55 were sold.

Net income in the latest period fell to $26.5 million, or 10 cents a share, in the second quarter from $40.2 million, or 11 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding items, the company earned 10 cents a share, narrowly beating the average estimate of 9 cents a share.

Wendy's raised the lower end of its full-year profit forecast by 1 cent to 39 cents a share and maintained its upper end of 40 cents a share. Analysts on average were expecting earnings of 39 cents a share for the year.

—Reuters contributed to this story.