By Levi Sumagaysay
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. said Thursday that continued strong online sales, customers returning to its restaurants and the success of new menu items like brisket contributed to a strong quarter that beat expectations.
The fast-food restaurant chain reported third-quarter net income of $204.4 million, or $7.18 a share, compared with $80.2 million, or $2.82 a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted for costs related to stock compensation, corporate restructuring, restaurant asset impairment and closures and more, earnings were $7.02 a share. Revenue rose to $1.95 billion from $1.6 billion in the year-ago quarter.
Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast earnings of $6.32 a share on revenue of $1.94 billion.
Newport Beach, Calif.-based Chipotle (NYS:CMG) said its same-store sales increased 15.1%, beating analysts’ expectations of 14%.
The company is seeing momentum in online sales, which grew 8.6% to $840 million, accounting for 42.8% of revenue. Chief Executive Brian Niccol said on the company’s earnings call that digital sales are up to nearly $2.7 billion so far this year, nearly catching up with $2.8 billion in online sales last year.
The company said that for the fourth quarter, it expects comparable restaurant sales growth in the low to mid double-digits, but warned about continuing uncertainty because of inflationary pressures and labor — like other industries, the food-service industry is struggling with not having enough workers.
“I wish all our restaurants were fully staffed, and I know we’re missing sales because not all of them are fully staffed,” Niccol said.
Chipotle shares slipped about 1% in after-hours trading Thursday, after rising 1.1% in the regular session to close at $1,843.83.
Shares of Chipotle have risen 33% year to date and nearly 42% for the past 52 weeks. By comparison, the S&P 500 Index (S&P:SPX) is up 21% so far this year and nearly 32% over the past year.