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Chipotle Mexican Grill Q1 Profit Trumps Street View On Strong Digital Sales

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Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (CMG) Wednesday reported an increase in profit for the first quarter as the fast casual food chain's revenues jumped 23%, driven by digital sales, menu changes and marketing. Earnings for the quarter trumped Wall Street analysts' estimates, while revenues came in line with expectations.

Chipotle Mexican Grill's first-quarter profit rose to $127.10 million or $4.45 per share, compared to $76.39 million or $2.70 per share last year.

Excluding special items, adjusted earnings for the quarter were $153.13 million or $5.36 per share, up from $87.16 million or $3.08 per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected earnings of $4.89 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Chipotle's revenues for the quarter rose 23.4% to $1.74 billion from $1.41 billion last year. Analysts had a consensus revenue estimate of $1.74 billion.

The company said revenue growth was driven by several new menu items, effective marketing, and on-going strength in digital sales.

Comparable restaurant sales increased 17.2%. Digital sales surged 133.9% and accounted for 50.1% of sales.

Restaurant level operating margin was 22.3%, an increase of 470 basis points. The company opened 40 new restaurants and closed 5 restaurants, bringing the total restaurant count to 2,803.

Looking forward to the second quarter, Chipotle expect comparable restaurant sales to be in the range of high twenties to 30%.

CMG closed trading at $1,507.61, down $24.48 or 1.60%, on the NYSE. The stock, however, gained $11.52 or 0.76%, in the after-hours trading.

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