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Thanks, kh.

I continue to think (hope???) that their long-term strategy for growth will pan out--but I also have a fear that I might be "falling in love" with the stock. I like the idea of their "town and country" growth, and also the idea that they would be growing between now and the time I was looking forward to retirement. (Hmmm, maybe that's a big red flag right there, emotional involvement...)

I still wonder why they didn't push ahead with franchising. It seems that they have been talking about doing this for years. But nothing's come of it yet. And if their sales continue to go downhill, then it will be an even harder thing to to franchise the concept....

Other questions and concerns:

When the prices went up by 3% in 2002, does this refer to a widespread or across-the-board price increase, or just to some items going up? It seems to me that one quick way of guaranteeing negative SSS would be to raise all the prices (even a little) on everything, all at once. That way, everybody's favorite item would go up in price, and everybody would be (at least a little) disappointed. So, I'm supposing that what happened is that they raised the prices on only some items, or raised the prices over a period of time....

The analyst who suggested to push the "to go" business seems to me to be on the right track. Even Burns admits that there is somewhat of a perception problem about the ambiance of the place. Food "to go" seems like an answer.

I really don't get this one: The Company is seeing some evidence of saturation in Nashville, Knoxville, and Indianapolis. Burns thinks this is a temporary phenomenon but did not elaborate. How can a saturation problem be temporary? Are they planning to close some stores in saturated areas?

The sales initiatives sound good.

Gosh, this company has to do a turnaround if they are ever going to go forward with the franchise plans.


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