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No details yet on 160 Applebee's, IHOP stores slated to close

Applebee's in Fargo David Samson / Forum News Service

FARGO The parent company of Applebee's and IHOP may close 160 restaurants this fiscal year as profits decline.

DineEquity revised its forecast of closures for its two national restaurant chains, saying Thursday it could close between 105 and 135 Applebee's and 20 to 25 IHOPs, according to a news release highlighting its second quarter fiscal reports. The release did not name the restaurants expected to close this year, but the revised numbers for closures are up from the previous forecast of 58 to 78 stores.

"We are investing in the empowerment of our brands by improving overall franchisee financial health, closing underperforming restaurants and enhancing the supply chain," said Richard J. Dahl, chairman and interim CEO of DineEquity. "We are focusing on operations and elevating the guest experience, whether in our restaurants or off-premise."

The release noted domestic sales for IHOP and Applebee's declined in the first six months of 2017. Applebee's was down 7 percent and IHOP 2.1 percent in that time period.

Regarding sales for fiscal year 2017, the release forecast an 8 percent loss for Applebee's and a 3 percent decrease for IHOP.

The same day, DineEquity announced Stephen Joyce would take over as CEO in mid-September.

However, IHOP could open 80 to 95 stores globally, while Applebee's expects to open 20 to 30 stores, according to the release.

Dahl called 2017 a transitional year for Applebee's, adding IHOP "remains on solid ground, despite soft sales this quarter."

There are several Applebee's restaurants across North Dakota, including in Grand Forks, Fargo and Devils Lake. Grand Forks and Fargo are home to North Dakota's IHOPs.

April Baumgarten

April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, and covers crime and education. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family raises registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college, she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as a city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.

Have a story idea? Contact Baumgarten at 701-780-1248.

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