Chipotle’s New CEO Gets a Welcome Gift With Sales Exceeding Estimates

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Chipotle’s new prime government obtained some respiration room to overtake the burrito big.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. reported first-quarter same-store gross sales on Wednesday that topped analysts’ projections, simply seven weeks after Taco Bell’s former chief government officer, Brian Niccol, took the helm. The outcomes despatched the shares up as a lot as 11 p.c in late buying and selling in New York.

The chain announced a change to its administration final yr — longtime chief and founder Steve Ells would step down as CEO, although stay chairman. Now buyers are tuned in to how Niccol plans to reverse a extended droop following E. coli and norovirus outbreaks, together with a variety of different points together with a hacker assault.

Hot Start

Chipotle topped earnings estimates by the widest margin since 2009

Source: Bloomberg

“While the company made notable progress during the quarter, I firmly believe we can accelerate that progress,” Niccol stated in a statement. “This path to performance will be grounded in a strategy of executing the fundamentals while introducing consumer-meaningful innovation.”

Same-store gross sales, a intently watched measure, climbed 2.2 p.c within the first quarter. Analysts estimated a rise of 1.three p.c, in response to Consensus Metrix. The firm reiterated its steerage for low-single-digit progress in comparable gross sales for this yr.

Chipotle inventory rose as excessive as $375.79 in after-hours buying and selling in New York. The shares had already gained 17 p.c this yr via Wednesday’s shut.

Results had been helped by larger common verify at Chipotle’s eating places, which included the advantage of menu worth will increase taken throughout the previous yr, the corporate stated. Revenue was $1.15 billion, matching projections.

Buybacks

The firm’s board additionally authorised spending as much as $100 million for share buybacks. Management expects to open 130 to 150 new eating places this yr.

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