Jack in the Box to close 67 Qdoba sites

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Jack in the Box Inc. said Monday that it will close 67 company owned Qdoba Mexican Grill restaurants by the end of September.

The restaurant chain said it reviewed the market performance for its Qdoba brand and decided to close the under-performing sites at the end of the company's fiscal year, which wraps up Sept. 29.

Qdoba has 647 restaurants, 340 of which are operated by Jack in the Box.

The company faces tough competition from Chipotle, which has grown astronomically, as well as other fast-casual Mexican restaurants. Jack in the Box reported in its last fiscal quarter that tis revenue from company owned Qdoba restaurant sales increased to $73.8 million from $63 million.

Tim Casey, Qdoba president, said the closures will help the company to better focus on existing stores, as well as improve its marketing and advertising efforts for remaining sites.

The company plans to add 70 to 75 Qdoba locations in fiscal 2013, including about 40 company stores. And in 2014, the company expects to add 60 to 70 locations, half of which will be company owned.

Jack in the Box estimates it will take a $40 million charge associated with the closures.

The company said it will discuss the closures when management presents at investor conferences later this month.

Shares of San Diego-based Jack in the Box fell 87 cents, or 2.3 percent, to close at $36.99.

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