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Chipotle’s Stock Rises On Earnings Beat And Strong Outlook

Chipotle Mexican Grill’s (CMG) stock is up 3% after the restaurant chain that specializes in Mexican cuisine posted better-than-expected financial results and issued bullish guidance.

For this year’s first quarter, Newport Beach, California-based Chipotle reported earnings per share (EPS) of $13.37 U.S. compared to $11.68 U.S. that was forecast on Wall Street.

Revenue in the period amounted to $2.70 billion U.S. versus $2.68 billion U.S. that was the consensus expectation of analysts. Sales were up 14% from a year earlier.

Additionally, Chipotle said that its same-store sales rose 7%, beating estimates of 5.2% growth.

Chipotle has managed to report increased customer traffic despite higher menu prices. The company most recently raised prices across its network last October, citing inflation.

More recently, Chipotle raised prices in California by 7% earlier in April to offset the state’s higher minimum wage for fast-food workers.

Chipotle has also been focusing on making its food items more quickly, improving the industry metric known as “throughput.”

Management said that Chipotle’s throughput reached its highest level in four years during Q1.

The restaurant chain added 47 new locations during the quarter, moving closer to its goal of doubling its total number of restaurants to 7,000 outlets.

In terms of guidance, Chipotle said that it anticipates same-store sales growth in the mid-to-high single-digit percentage, up from its prior range of a mid-single-digit increase.

The company also reiterated its forecast of 285 to 315 new store openings this year.

In March, Chipotle’s board approved a 50-for-1 stock split, one of the largest in the New York Stock Exchange’s history.

The stock is expected to start trading on a split adjusted basis on June 26 of this year.

Prior to today (April 25), Chipotle’s stock had risen 64% in the past 12 months to trade at $2,926.76 U.S. per share.