March 13, 2017 / 8:55 PM / in 5 months

UPDATE 1-Ruby Tuesday to explore strategic alternatives, including sale

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March 13 (Reuters) - Restaurant operator Ruby Tuesday Inc said on Monday it would explore strategic alternatives, including a potential sale or merger, sending its shares up after the bell.

The casual restaurant chain which has been struggling to turn around sluggish sales and stem losses, has been shuttering underperforming stores and offering healthier menu items in a bid to keep up with intense competition from its larger rivals such as McDonald's Corp and Wendy's Co.

The Maryville, Tennessee based-company's shares rose about 14 percent to $1.99 in extended trading.

Ruby Tuesday, which said it expects third-quarter same restaurant sales to decline 4 percent, retained UBS as its financial adviser to assist in the process.

The company, which has a market capitalization of about $106 million, also expects its revenue in the quarter ended Feb. 28 to decline about 17 percent to $225.7 million.

Ruby Tuesday's shares fell about 67 percent in the last 12 months. (Reporting by Gayathree Ganesan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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