Restaurants

Number of Subway restaurants shrinking for first time in company history

Lauren Simonetti has the details

 

Subway, America’s largest restaurant chain by number of store locations, closed more U.S. stores than it opened in 2016.

The news is a first for the Milford, Conn.-based company which operates over 40,000 around the globe and long touted its prolific franchisee expansion plan. 

"We will continue to relocate some shops to better locations and look for new sites — both traditional and non-traditional," the company said in an e-mailed statement to Reuters.

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Now, the company operates about 26,744 stores in the U.S.—a decrease of 359 restaurants. McDonald’s brings in more revenue than Subway but globally operates about 36,000 stores worldwide.

Despite operating fewer stores domestically, Subway says it will continue to “focus on international growth” where sales have remained strong.

"Going into 2017, we are undertaking an exciting transformation that includes introducing new and improved products, creating an even greater customer experience, refining operations, and positioning Subway franchisees for continued success," the company said in a statement, reports CNN Money.

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Sales in the U.S. fell from $11.5 billion in 2015 to $11.3 last year.

According to Business Insider, several factors have been blamed for Subway’s slipping marketshare in the U.S., including the scandal surrounding longtime spokesman Jared Fogle, changing tastes in the country, and an aggressive growth plan that hasn't been meeting expectations.