As Julia Stewart stepped down on Wednesday from her post as CEO of DineEquity, which owns IHOP and Applebee’s restaurants, officials are confident in long-term brand loyalty amid challenging retail times. Stewart coordinated the merger of IHOP and Applebee’s in late 2007. Richard Dahl, lead director of the board, will serve as interim CEO while a search for a permanent CEO replacement is conducted. IHOP’s domestic systemwide comparable same-restaurant sales declined 2.1 percent for the fourth quarter of 2016; while....

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