• Sandwich chain’s domestic store count dropped 1.3% in 2016
  • U.S. sales fell, but company expanded international business

Subway Restaurants closed hundreds of domestic locations last year, marking the biggest retrenchment in the history of a chain that spent decades saturating America with restaurants.

The company lost 359 U.S. locations in 2016, the first time that Subway had a net reduction. The store count dropped 1.3 percent to 26,744 from 27,103 in 2015, but Subway remains the nation’s most ubiquitous eatery. (McDonald’s Corp. is No. 1 by sales.)

The closely held company is coping with a sales slowdown in the U.S., made worse by the emergence of newer fast-casual rivals and the industry’s heavy reliance on discounts and promotions. Subway also has lost some of its luster as a healthier-food option. It’s been working to restore its status by eliminating antibiotics from its chicken and switching to cage-free eggs.

In another bid to revive growth, Subway is adding delivery services — a strategy that’s also been embraced by…