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Chipotle Profit Tops Analysts’ Estimates as Traffic Gains

July 19 (Bloomberg) -- Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. posted second-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates as an increase in traffic boosted sales at its established restaurants.

Net Income rose 7.6 percent to $87.9 million, or $2.82 a share, from $81.7 million, or $2.56, a year earlier, the Denver-based company said in a statement yesterday. Analysts estimated $2.81, the average of 26 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The burrito chain has recently started selling tofu and offering catering to maintain its sales growth, which is projected to slow to a 16 percent gain this year, from 20 percent in 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Chipotle is also opening locations of its new brand, ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen.

Chipotle rose 6.7 percent to $402.12 at 10:19 a.m. in New York, after climbing as much as 7.3 percent for the biggest intraday gain since April 19. The shares increased 27 percent this year through yesterday, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Restaurants Index advanced 17 percent.

Sales at Chipotle stores open at least 13 months rose 5.5 percent in the quarter. Analysts, on average, estimated a 3.8 percent gain, according to Consensus Metrix. Same-store sales increased 1 percent in the first quarter.

Chipotle will expand its test of tofu, or Sofritas, to stores in the Pacific Northwest this month and potentially to other markets later this year, Co-Chief Executive Officer Steve Ells said on a conference call yesterday. It’s already selling the vegan entree in its California locations.

The company has about 1,500 restaurants.

To contact the reporter on this story: Leslie Patton in Chicago at lpatton5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net

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