Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. is entering its 20s with another strong earnings report, a commitment to ditch genetically modified ingredients and an expanding Asian food concept.
In its second quarter, which ended June 30, the fast-casual chain and stock market darling saw same-store sales increase 5.5%. The figures, announced after the market closed Thursday, helped push Chipotle stock up 7.7%, or $29.14, to $405.89 a share midday Friday in New York.
The Denver company’s stock is up nearly 27% so far in 2013.
Revenue at Chipotle, which turns 20 this month, soared 18.2% to $816.8 million. Profit increased 7.6% to $87.9 million, or $2.82 a share, from $81.7 million, or $2.56 a share, in the same period a year earlier.
“The second quarter is Chipotle’s busiest of the year, so it's not surprising to see good numbers,” said Motley Fool analyst Jason Moser.
During the quarter, the chain opened 44 new restaurants, bringing its total to more than 1,500. The company expects to open as many as 180 eateries this year and anticipates comparable sales to increase in the low to mid-single digits.
Chipotle, along with soup and sandwich purveyor Panera Bread Co., is often touted as a model restaurant stock.
During the quarter, the Mexican-style chain expanded the rollout of its vegan tofu entree Sofritas across California. The item accounts for between 4% and 5% of Chipotle’s product mix in the state.
Also during the period, the chain opened its first Asian spinoff, ShopHouse, in California. The brand, previously only available in Washington, D.C., launched in Hollywood and is coming in Santa Monica.
The business will likely do battle with Noodles & Co., a Colorado company that made the strongest public debut of the year last month.
“ShopHouse is continuing to show us that there is significant potential for our business beyond burritos and tacos,” said Chipotle founder and co-Chief Executive Steve Ells in a conference call with analysts.
The company also promised to label all genetically modified ingredients on its menu while attempting to remove them entirely from its food. Additionally, Chipotle said it doesn’t plan to raise prices for the rest of the year.
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