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    Tim Hortons Pulls Out of New England Markets

    Coffeehouse chain plans to focus its U.S. growth in the Northeast and Midwest.

    ONTARIO, Canada -- Tim Hortons Inc. will shutter 36 underperforming restaurants in New England to focus its U.S. growth on the Northeast and Midwest, according to Nation's Restaurant News.

    "We expect [the store closures] to have a positive impact on our U.S. business in terms of our continued business progression and management focus," Don Schroeder, Tim Hortons' president and chief executive, said in a statement. "We plan to reinvest a portion of the expected earnings improvement from these closures to increase our brand profile in our U.S. core growth markets where we are building critical mass."

    The closures in New England included the shuttering of 34 restaurants and 18 self-service kiosks in the Providence, R.I., and Hartford, Conn., markets, effectively ending Tim Hortons' presence in those areas, the report stated. The company reported that it had lost about $4.4 million from the Providence and Hartford units, whose average unit volumes were about half of those at restaurants in core U.S. markets such as Buffalo, N.Y., and Columbus, Ohio.

    Tim Hortons also closed two restaurants in Portland, Maine, though the company noted some units will remain open in that trade area.

    The New England market is a Dunkin' Donuts stronghold, and competition for coffee, bakery café items and breakfast has been heightened by major initiatives from quick-service players including McDonald's McCafe introduction and Subway's Seattle's Best launch.

    Tim Hortons has more than 600 restaurants in the U.S., and 3,082 restaurants in Canada.

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