By Daniel Shvartsman
Investing.com – Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:) shares rose 8.2% in post-earnings trading after the company met revenue expectations and earnings came in well ahead of .
The restaurant operator reported $1.96B in revenue, in line with analyst estimates and 24% growth on last year. Adjusted earnings were $5.58/share, ahead of $5.29 estimates. Diluted earnings were $4.69/share.
The company also posted an impressive 15.2% comparable restaurant sales increase. Digital sales only grew 3.8%, while operating margins grew to 8.1% from a prior 7.3%. Chipotle opened 78 new restaurants in the quarter.
“2021 was an outstanding year for Chipotle, highlighting the strength and resiliency of our brand.” said Brian Niccol, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Chipotle. “Moving forward, we believe expanding access and convenience through our digital ecosystem, accelerating unit growth, and continuing to develop and support our restaurant employees, will put us in a much stronger competitive position.”
The company’s 2022 outlook calls for 235-250 new restaurants opening (vs. 215 in 2021). They expect mid to high single digits comparable restaurant sales growth in Q1, and cited Omicron as weighing on comps in both December and in an “intensifying” manner in January.
Shares may be getting a charge from Chipotle’s longer-term guidance, which includes raising the goal of potential Chipotle restaurants in North America to 7,000 from a prior goal of 6,000. Chipotle is aiming for 8-10% annual unit growth as part of this new guidance. The company currently has 2,966 restaurants globally.
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