Subway Restaurants closed hundreds of domestic locations last year, marking the biggest retrenchment in the history of a chain that spent decades saturating America with restaurants.
The company lost 359 U.S. locations in 2016, the first time that Subway had a net reduction. The store count dropped 1.3 percent to 26,744 from 27,103 in 2015, but Subway remains the nation’s most ubiquitous eatery. McDonald’s Corp. is No. 1 by sales.
The company is coping with a sales slowdown in the U.S., made worse by the emergence of newer rivals and the industry’s heavy reliance on discounts and promotions. Subway has also been working to eliminating antibiotics from its chicken and switching to cage-free eggs.The number of Americans seeking benefits dropped 49,000 to 1.98 million, the fewest since April 2000. That figure has declined 7.7 percent in the past year.