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Subway Continues To Shed Stores, Execs

Subway ended 2019 with less than 1,000 stores than it began the year with, and the sandwich chain's C-level is also slimming down.  

Benzinga · 01/12/2020 22:40

Subway ended 2019 with less than 1,000 stores than it began the year with, and the sandwich chain's C-level is also slimming down.  

Subway's Shrinking Store Footprint 

Subway ended 2019 with 1,106 net fewer restaurants in the U.S., according to Restaurant Business.

The company's estimated 23,692 units at the end of the year are its fewest since 2009. The international store count also declined by 1.9% in 2019.

Total U.S. locations peaked at 27,103 in 2015 and are down 13%, according to RB. Subway's international presence peaked in 2017 at 18,004 locations and has since declined by 3.3%, the publication said. 

Subway faces heavy competition, especially from more modern chains like Jersey Mike's. The company was also on the receiving end of negative press when former spokesman Jared Fogle  pleaded guilty in federal court in 2015 to child pornography and sexual misconduct charges and was sentenced to prison. 

More recently, many franchisees expressed disappointment with CEO John Chidsey's decision to become heavily promotional. One franchise owner said offering 6-inch subs for $2.99 means "giving away the little profits we have."

Subway Leadership Departures

Subway's chief brand and innovation officer Len Van Popering is leaving the company as part of a reorganization process.

The position will be eliminated completely as part of a strategy of "maximizing business performance and streamlining the business model [to] help us realize greater efficiencies across the organization," the company told RB in a statement.

In addition, Subway's Chief Legal Officer Bethany Appleby is also leaving the company, sources told RB.

The latest executive departures are on top of the three executives who parted ways with Subway in December. Ian Martin, senior vice president for international, was also let ago in late 2019 as part of similar reorganization. 

Subway CFO Dave Worroll and Development Officer Don Fertman also announced their retirement late last year; each exec had been with the company for decades. 

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Photo by Dwight Burdette via Wikimedia