Tim Hortons has closed six of its Maine restaurants, but the company insists it’s not considering leaving the state altogether.

The closing of restaurants in Portland, Brunswick, Lewiston, Augusta, Rockland and Skowhegan leaves Tim Hortons with 25 coffee, doughnut and sandwich restaurants in the state, said Brynn Burton, a spokesman for the company’s U.S. operations. The chain, based in Canada, has more than 4,000 restaurants, including about 800 in the United States.

Burton said the closings came as the result of an analysis of individual locations’ profitability, not because of a general reduction of the company’s stores in the United States.

“We’re not considering pulling out of the Maine market,” she said. The company could add locations in the future, she said.

Tim Hortons has already pulled out of the other New England states in which it operated, however. It now has stores in 12 states and Burton said the restaurants are concentrated in Maine, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia and Kentucky.

All the restaurants in Maine are owned by franchisees, she said.

Most of the closings were announced in the last couple of weeks, but the Brunswick closing was announced Thursday.

Burton declined to comment on severance for the employees, who have all been notified of the closings and are employees of the franchisees. She said severance policies are set by the franchisees, and owners who have multiple locations could offer open positions at other restaurants to the employees at restaurants that are closing. However, she said that is an issue for individual owners to decide.

The company said that same-store sales – sales at restaurants open at least 13 months – increased 3 percent in the quarter ending Sept. 29. Net income was up 7.7 percent to $113.9 million for the three-month period.

Tim Hortons was started in Ontario, Canada, in 1964 by a popular Canadian hockey player. It expanded into the United States in 1984, was purchased by fast-food chain Wendy’s in 1995 and then spun off as a separate company again in 2006. Some stores are co-branded with Cold Stone Creamery, meaning the ice cream retailer operates inside a Tim Hortons restaurant.

 

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

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