• Sbarro struggles in wake of 9-11 attacks

MELVILLE, N.Y. -- Quick-serve pizza chain Sbarro reported the closure of 48 restaurants this year in its 10-Q filed with the SEC in October. The company cited sales declines suffered by most all U.S. pizza companies, in addition to sales lost when its dozens of airports sites were closed temporarily following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

According to the statement, in the 40-week period ending Oct. 7, Sbarro closed a total of 48 restaurants, 36 of which were company owned, 12 of which were franchised. That total is up 26 from the same period in 2000.

Sales in the company's third quarter, which ended Oct. 7, were off 2.7 percent. For the first 40 weeks of the year, the company reported revenues of almost $286 million, compared to about $291 million in 2000, a decline of 2.9 percent.

Twice this year, the company has suffered directly from terrorist attacks. Two locations were lost in the attack on the World Trade Center, and in August, a location in Israel was damaged heavily when a suicide bomber killed himself and four customers inside that facility. That unit was reopened in September 2001.

In the statement, the company said it expects a strong increase as holiday shoppers flock to malls, where hundreds of its approximately 650 stores are located. In 2000, about 40 percent of Sbarro's sales for the year came during the fourth quarter.

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