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Chipotle Mexican Grill Shares Rise As Q2 Results Beat Estimates

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (CMG) on Thursday reported an 8 percent increase in profit for the second quarter, as new restaurant openings and an increase in comparable restaurant sales boosted revenues. Both earnings and revenue for the period beat analysts' estimates.

Looking ahead, the company raised its outlook for fiscal 2013 comparable restaurant sales growth. Shares of the company gained almost 5 percent in extended trades.

Comparable restaurant sales for the second quarter rose 5.5 percent, driven by increased traffic and from the benefit of one additional trading day in the quarter. This compares to an 8.0 percent increase in comparable restaurant sales in the year-ago period.

Denver, Colorado-based Chipotle, a burrito and tacos chain spun off from McDonald's Corp. (MCD) in 2006, said its net profit for the second quarter was $87.85 million or $2.82 per share, up from $81.68 million or $2.56 per share in the year-ago period.

On average, 26 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report earnings of $2.81 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Revenues for the quarter grew 18 percent to $816.79 million from $690.93 million in the same period last year. Analysts had a consensus revenue estimate of $802.78 million for the quarter.

During the quarter, the company opened 44 new restaurants, taking the total restaurant count to 1,502. However, restaurant level operating margin dropped 160 basis points from the same period last year to 27.6 percent, reflecting higher food costs and marketing costs.

Food costs were 33.1 percent of revenue, an increase of 100 basis points, driven by higher commodity costs. Higher commodity costs were driven by increased prices for all of the company's salsa ingredients, as well as for dairy items and chicken.

Looking ahead to fiscal 2013, Chipotle Mexican Grill now forecasts low-to-mid single digit comparable restaurant sales, compared to its prior outlook for flat-to-low single digit comparable restaurant sales.

The company reaffirmed its expectation to open 165 to 180 new restaurants during the year.

CMG closed Thursday's regular trading at $376.75, up $0.98 or 0.26 percent on a volume of 976,798 shares. In after-hours trading, the stock further gained $18.25 or 4.84 percent to $395.00.

by RTT Staff Writer

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