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JENNY CRAIG TIGHTENS BELT, SUSPENDS DIVIDEND

SHARE JENNY CRAIG TIGHTENS BELT, SUSPENDS DIVIDEND

Struggling diet center operator Jenny Craig Inc. said it has suspended payment of its quarterly dividend of 15 cents a share.

The company said it will direct its cash resources to the company's marketing efforts and "further improvement of its business," and review its dividend policy quarterly.The suspension of dividend payments comes about two months after Jenny Craig announced that it was closing more than 30 of its 800 weight-loss centers nationwide in an effort to cut costs.

Jenny Craig, which has been troubled by slow performance at its California centers, intense competition and turnover in its executive suite, said it would take a $12.9 million charge against earnings to account for the cost of the closures.

The charge pushed the company into the red for its third quarter ended March 31 as it reported a loss of $8.7 million for the period compared with earnings of $10.5 million, or 38 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter.

The $1.9 billion diet-center business has been hurt over the past year by financial troubles at Nutri/System and by the sluggish economy cutting spending.