- Chipotle shares fell 2.4% in early Wednesday trades.
- The fast-food chain’s adjusted earnings fell short of Wall Street’s forecasts.
- Revenue met expectations and digital sales more than doubled.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
Chipotle Mexican Grill shares fell in early trading on Wednesday, pressured by fourth-quarter adjusted earnings that missed expectations, although digital sales jumped as customers ordered with COVID-19 protocols in mind.
Shares lost as much as 2.4% ahead of the opening bell, but pared some of those losses when shares began trading. So far this year, they have gained nearly 10% and have soared over the past 12 months by 78%.
The fast-food chain late Tuesday said adjusted earnings were $3.48 per share, falling short of the consensus estimate of $3.73 per share.
Total revenue rose to $1.61 billion, higher than $1.44 billion a year ago and in line with the $1.61 billion expected by analysts. Comparable restaurant sales increased by 5.7%, with the company noting there was “healthy demand” for its Carne Asada offering.
Digital sales, meanwhile, charged higher by 177% and accounted for 49% of sales.
“Expanding access and convenience through our digital ecosystem has kept the Chipotle brand relevant,” said Brian Niccol, chief executive of Chipotle, in the earnings report, adding that the company is “well prepared to emerge even stronger post-COVID.”
Chipotle said it has been following federal COVID-19 guidelines in having employees wear face masks and having tamper-evident packaging seals for all digital orders.
No guidance for growth in fiscal 2021 comparable restaurant sales was given by Chipotle because of the “on-going uncertainty surrounding the future impact of COVID-19 on the broader US economy and any specific impact to our company,” it said.
Chiptole stock traded at 1,488.00 as of 9:47AM E.T. on Wednesday.