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Tim Hortons sales fall by one-third as industry feels the pain of pandemic

Last Updated Aug 6, 2020 at 12:00 pm EDT

A Tim Hortons cup is seen inside a Tim Hortons restaurant in Toronto on March 6, 2020. As the COVID-19 pandemic started to hit Canada last month, Tim Hortons eyed its planned upcoming advertising and decided it didn't quite work anymore amid mass restaurant closures, wide-scale layoffs and physical distancing guidelines all that have upended life as Canadians knew it. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

Restaurant Brands International Inc. says the pandemic took a big bite out of earnings in the second quarter, with sales down 21 per cent.

The parent of Tim Hortons and Burger King says net income fell to US$163 million in the quarter ended June 30, down 37 per cent from US$257 million a year earlier.

RBI, which reports in U.S. dollars, says revenues fell 25 per cent last quarter to $1.05 billion from $1.4 billion in the previous year.

On an adjusted basis, diluted earnings plunged to 33 cents per share from 71 cents per share, exceeding analysts’ expectations of 31 cents per share, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

Toronto-based RBI says the COVID-19 pandemic drove a steep revenue decline at its two biggest brands, with sales at Tim Hortons and Burger King shrinking by one-third and one-quarter, respectively.

A sales boost at Popeyes helped soften the blow, and RBI says virtually all of its 27,000 restaurant locations are now open again.

“Our results this quarter continued to be significantly impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic, but we saw a substantial improvement in business performance over the course of the quarter relative to the performance we saw during the onset of the crisis globally in March,” the company said in a statement.