updated 7/7/2005 12:50:52 PM ET 2005-07-07T16:50:52

Wendy's International Inc. said on Thursday sales at its burger restaurants opened at least a year fell 4 percent in the second quarter, hurt mainly by a woman's false claim that she found part of a finger in her chili.

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The company said half of the decline for the quarter ended July 3 was because of the woman's claim that she found the finger while eating at a Wendy's in northern California in late March. Authorities have charged the woman with making up the story to extort money from Wendy's.

Same-store sales at company-owned stores opened at least a year fell 4.6 percent in the second quarter, while same-store sales at franchised restaurants slipped 3.9 percent. Sales took the worst hit in April, with the decrease narrowing in May and June.

Wendy's also said it was hurt by difficult comparisons to the year-ago period and beef prices 24 percent higher than a year ago.

"Wendy's sales a year ago were strong, and we are still recovering from the San Jose incident, especially on the West Coast," Jack Schuessler, Wendy's chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

Same-store sales at Wendy's Tim Hortons coffee and doughnut chain increased 5.6 percent in Canada and 9.1 percent in the U.S., helped by chicken club sandwiches, iced cappuccinos and yogurt and berries.

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