Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) is bucking the larger restaurant industry trend, and investors love it. The fast casual chain is seeing same store sales climb much faster than the rest of the industry, and shares of its stock received a boost today from a positive analyst report.
Chipotle Mexican Grill boosted by sales
Shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill neared $700 a share for the first time in the stock’s history, but investors just couldn’t find it in themselves to push shares over that psychological level. Cleveland Research Co. analyst Steven Gojak said in a report today that the fast casual chain’s same store sales are climbing between 19% and 20% in the current quarter. Data from Bloomberg shows that analysts have been expecting growth of only 15% or so in the quarter.
Gojak added that higher prices and a catering push are driving those increases, reports Bloomberg. The analyst said traffic trends at Chipotle’s restaurants have been holding “fairly steady” so far in the current quarter. He doesn’t think there’s been any “meaningful” pushback from customers on the recent increase in menu prices.
Chipotle benefits from trends
At one point today, shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill had risen by nearly 3%, hitting a new intraday high of $697.93 per share. Already this year to date, the restaurant chain’s stock price has risen by 27%, compared to the S&P 500 Restaurants Index’s .3% decline.
Earlier this year, analysts debated whether Chipotle’s menu price increase would have any sort of impact, but it doesn’t seem to have had one. Younger diners continue to pour into the company’s restaurants as they seek healthier meal choices and also greater flexibility in customizing their meals. Chipotle has also been getting into the catering business with some of its stores and also speeding up the addition of new restaurants to increase sales. Just last month, the company’s second quarter earnings report beat analyst estimates. Revenue climbed 29% to $1.1 billion for the quarter.