Ruth’s sales comparison falls 11 pct in 4Q

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HEATHROW, Fla. (AP) — Restaurant operator Ruth’s Hospitality Group Inc. said Monday that sales at company-owned restaurants open at least a year fell 11 percent in the fourth quarter.

The company’s stock fell in after-hours trading after the announcement was made.

The company owns and operates restaurants under the Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Mitchell’s Fish Market, Mitchell’s Steakhouse and Cameron’s Steakhouse names. It has suffered falling sales along with its peers as consumers eat out less often.

Ruth’s shares fell 12 cents, or 5 percent, to $2.30 in after-hours trading Monday after closing at $2.42, up 33 cents from a day earlier.

For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 27, total sales at company-owned restaurants fell 10.5 percent to $83.7 million from $93.5 million in the same period a year earlier.

CEO Mike O’Donnell said in a statement he believes the sales environment at the company’s restaurants has stabilized.

Sales at restaurants open at least a year is a key measure of performance because it is not skewed by new location openings and closings.