Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) topped first-quarter earnings forecasts and sees same-store sales growth picking up in Q2 after just missing views in Q1. Chipotle stock rallied late.
The Mexican fast-casual chain reports the results as it expands its digital ordering and delivery businesses, which grew last year as restaurants closed off indoor dining due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Estimates: Wall Street expects Chipotle earnings to jump 60% to $4.92. Revenue was seen climbing 24% to $1.75 billion. Consensus Metrix forecast a 17.5% same-store sales gain for the company.
Results: EPS of $5.36 on revenue of $1.74 billion. Same-store sales increased 17.2%. Digital sales jumped 133.9% and accounted for 50.1% of sales. A little more than half of the digital sales were from order ahead transactions, helped by drive-thru Chipotlanes.
Chipotle’s digital sales surged 174% last year. Those sales made up nearly half of total sales.
Outlook: Chipotle sees Q2 same-store sales rising in the” high twenties to 30%.”
The relative strength line has largely moved sideways since October, indicating largely in-line performance with the S&P 500. That line started to drift lower this year.
Chipotle last month said it had invested in Nuro, an autonomous delivery vehicle startup, with plans to eventually test the company’s cars. In November, Chipotle said it would open its first restaurant focused solely on digital ordering. The chain has also expanded its drive-thru Chipotlanes, which take digital orders.
Still, analysts, before Chipotle’s earnings, debated how much higher Chipotle stock can go. Shares have marched up steadily since last March, when the pandemic forced industry layoffs and threatened to permanently close many restaurants.
Cowen restaurant analyst Andrew Charles has called Chipotle stock his “best idea” for this year, amid the digital push. In a research note on Tuesday, he said the most recent four weeks of sales appeared to be “running record volumes.”
Since that prognosis, Covid-19 vaccinations have expanded and the government has infused the economy with more stimulus aid.
Still, Quo Vadis Capital analyst John Zolidis said he’s “uninterested in chasing the stock at these levels.”
But he said the bull case for Chipotle stock “is unlikely to be derailed in the near-term as long as sales momentum remains strong, and easy comparisons will aid the appearance of the headline metrics.”
Domino’s Pizza (DPZ), which is testing at least one self-driving vehicle with Nuro, fell 0.8%.
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