Why Subway is shrinking

April 24, 2017

This post is part of the On the Margin blog.

What has happened with Subway?

The Milford, Conn.-based sandwich giant has struggled to generate sales in recent years. And now those struggles have claimed something once thought almost unstoppable: The chain’s unit-count growth.

Subway’s unit count has declined in each of the past two years. In 2014, according to Nation’s Restaurant News Top 100 data, Subway had 27,103 locations. In 2016 Subway finished with 26,744 locations. That’s a decline of more than 350 locations.

The simple explanation for this decline is that same-store sales have been falling since 2012, and