Dunkin' to close 800 U.S. stores

Dunkin' Brands Inc. expects to close up to 800 underperforming U.S. stores this year as it tries to shore up its portfolio in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The company had previously announced the closure of 450 stores within Speedway gas stations. But the company said Thursday it's targeting an additional 350 stores, most of which are unprofitable. Closing the restaurants would allow their franchisees to reinvest in newer stores in higher-traffic areas, Dunkin' Chief Financial Officer Katherine Jaspon said during a conference call with investors.

Jaspon said the 800 stores represent 8% of Dunkin's U.S. footprint but just 2% of its sales.

Dunkin' said Thursday its sales dropped 20% in the second quarter to $287 million. Sales at U.S. stores open at least a year dropped 19% from the April-June period a year ago.

Dunkin' isn't the only chain targeting low-performing restaurants. McDonald's said earlier this week that it will close 200 U.S. restaurants this year, about half of which are locations inside Walmart stores.


CBL continues talks over debt to next week

Chattanooga-based shopping center owner CBL & Associates Properties Inc. will continue discussions into next week with lenders regarding its debt.

The company, which operates 108 properties nationally including Hamilton Place and Northgate malls in Chattanooga, extended talks until Monday with lenders related to two forbearance agreements concerning its debt, a new Securities and Exchange Commission filing shows.

Also, the company extended forbearance discussions regarding a credit agreement until Wednesday, the company filing said.

Nearly a month ago, the company first entered into forbearance after CBL said it chose to not make interest payments of $18.6 million and $11.8 million.

The company is in talks with lenders after a downturn in revenue caused by the temporary closing of malls and retail stores earlier this year amid the coronavirus outbreak. Key tenants of the mall company, such as J.C. Penney and the owner of Ann Taylor and Catherines shops, have filed for bankruptcy restructuring during the pandemic.


Mortgage rates near all-time low

U.S. average rates on long-term mortgages declined this week, remaining near historic lows as the key 30-year loan slipped back below 3%.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year home loan eased to 2.99% from 3.01% last week. The benchmark rate hasn't fallen below the 3% mark for 50 years. By contrast, the rate averaged 3.75% a year ago.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 2.51% from 2.54% last week.


Ace stores raise money for Children's hospital

Elder's ACE Hardware will kick off their annual Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Miracle Bucket Days fundraiser benefiting Children's Hospital at Erlanger, the local CMN Hospital, on Friday.

Patrons are invited to purchase $5 CMN Hospitals five-gallon bucket at area Elder's ACE Hardware locations between Friday and Sunday. They can then receive 20% off their purchase of any item they place inside the buckets, some exclusions apply. The $5 from each bucket sold will be donated to Children's Hospital at Erlanger.

Last year, Elder's ACE Hardware raised over $51,000 during their CMN Campaign including the Miracle Bucket Days, change roundup program, and candy sales.


Jernigan to chair WTCI-TV board

Don Jernigan has been named chairman of the 18-member governing board of WTCI-TV, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

Jernigan is a retired TVA senior vice president who once served as a Naval Officer in the U.S. Navy's Submarine Service. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics at The Florida State University and an MBA at the University of Miami. Prior to becoming board chair, Jernigan served on WTCI's Community Advisory Board and was appointed to the Board of Directors in 2018.

"I look forward to taking the helm from Steve Gatlin who led our local PBS station through a challenging leadership transition these past two years," Jernigan said. "I cannot understate the importance of public television to our local community and the role that this station has played these past months with the challenges our community has faced.

The Greater Chattanooga Public Television Corporation holds the FCC license to operate and govern WTCI-TV PBS, Chattanooga's public television station. WTCI began broadcasting on March 4, 1970.