Holy Moly: Did the Pope Hurt This Company’s Stock?

Pope Francis made a splash when he visited the U.S. last month. But not all businesses benefited from the pontiff’s presence.

Specialty beer, toasters and smartphone apps are among the products companies used to profit off Pope Francis’ recent visit to the United States.

The pope made several stops in Washington, D.C., New York and Philadelphia on his first U.S. tour late last month.

But not all businesses along the pontiff’s route benefited from his whirlwind tour.

Cosi, a Boston-based regional restaurant chain, is blaming the Catholic Church leader’s visit for its negative financial performance last month.

The publicly traded company released its third-quarter sales numbers Wednesday, explaining in a news release:

Business interruptions resulting from the Pope’s visit on September 22–26, 2015, negatively impacted 30 percent of our company-owned restaurants.

Comparable-restaurant sales at Cosi’s company-owned restaurants dropped by an estimated 4.5 percent during the four-week period that ended Sept. 28. Sales fell by an estimated 1.7 percent at franchise restaurants and by 3.6 percent company-wide during the same period.

Company-wide sales fell by 0.3 percent for the third quarter as a whole

Cosi president and chief executive R.J. Dourney stated in Wednesday’s release that he was “disappointed in the overall sales results this quarter.”

Cosi currently includes 79 company-owned restaurants and 30 franchise restaurants across 15 states, the District of Columbia and two foreign countries.

CNBC reports that the company’s stock shares were more than 16 percent lower Wednesday and its stock value has fallen 44 percent year-to-date.

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Stacy Johnson

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