DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) _ Wendy's International Inc. said lower sales during the winter months and higher utility and beef costs will cause its first-quarter earnings to fall below expectations. However, the hamburger chain said it expects its performance to improve over the rest of the year.

Wendy's said Monday that earnings for the quarter ending April 1 would be 33 cents per share, compared with 30 cents per share in the same quarter last year. Wall Street analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial had been expecting 34 cents.

The company said full-year goal is 12 percent to 15 percent growth, which would put full-year earnings between $1.71 and $1.76 per share. Analysts are projecting $1.71, compared with $1.53 for all of last year, according to First Call.

Same-store sales are up nearly 1 percent for the quarter at Wendy's restaurants and up about 10 percent at Tim Hortons coffee-and-doughnut restaurants, the company said.

Shares of Wendy's were down 18 cents to close at $22.76 Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Wendy's is the third largest quick-service hamburger chain in the world with more than 5,600 restaurants in the United States, Canada and other countries. Tim Hortons is the largest coffee and fresh baked goods chain in Canada with more than 1,900 restaurants and 120 in the United States.