Chipotle Jumps to Record After Profit Tops Estimates

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. rose to an all-time high after the restaurant chain reported second-quarter results that beat analysts’ estimates.

The shares soared 12 percent to $659.77 at the close in New York, the highest price since the company’s initial public offering in January 2006. Chipotle has gained 24 percent this year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has climbed 7.3 percent.

Net income rose 25 percent to $110.3 million, or $3.50 a share, from a year earlier, according to a statement from the Denver-based company yesterday. Sales rose to $1.05 billion. Analysts on average had projected earnings of $3.04 a share on revenue of $989.7 million.

Revenue was buoyed by an increase in traffic at existing outlets and by sales in new stores the company opened in the quarter. Chipotle, which has been accelerating new restaurant growth, also said sales were lifted by a nationwide increase in menu prices that was fully rolled out at the end of the period.

For the full year, Chipotle forecast comparable sales growth to be in the mid-teens and said it will open 180 to 195 new restaurants.

“Chipotle is a unique company in the U.S. restaurants industry, with industry-leading comps, exceptional returns on invested capital, and an extended runway of new-unit development,” Sara Senatore, a New York-based analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, said in a research note. “Pricing, catering and transaction momentum should sustain mid-teen comps.”

Beef Prices

Chipotle recently started catering services in the U.S., selling burritos by the box and chips and salsa in bulk. It also is hawking a vegetarian option, called sofritas, at some locations. Same-store sales jumped 17 percent in the quarter.

The company, along with other food sellers, is seeing higher costs for beef, avocados and cheese this year. Prices for wholesale beef have jumped 25 percent this year after years of drought have forced U.S. ranchers to shrink U.S. cattle herds to the smallest in 63 years.

Chipotle which operates smaller chain ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen, which opened in 2011, also has a stake in Pizzeria Locale. The burrito seller has invested in the Colorado pizza chain and said it may become the majority owner.