Shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. fell in late trading Tuesday after the fast-casual Mexican chain missed expectations for holiday earnings amid “tightening” consumer spending and more expensive burritos. The results mark only the second time in five years that Chipotle
reported earnings per share that came up short of Wall Street’s expectations. The last time that happened was the same quarter in 2020.
The chain reported fourth-quarter net income of $223.7 million, or $8.02 a share, compared with $133.5 million, or $4.69 a share, in the same quarter in the prior year. Revenue rose 11% to $2.18 billion, compared with $1.96 billion in the prior-year quarter. Same-store sales gained 5.6%. Excluding the impact from certain legal proceedings and restructuring, Chipotle earned $8.29 a share, compared with $5.58 a share in the prior-year quarter. Analysts polled by FactSet expected adjusted earnings per share of $8.91, on revenue of $2.23 billion. They expected same-store sales growth of 6.9%. “With consumer discretionary spending tightening, we are focused on running great restaurants and delivering excellent customer and employee experiences,” Chief Executive Brian Niccol said in a statement. Chipotle said it expected first-quarter same-store sales to increase “in the high-single-digits.” That outlook was based on a “low-double-digits” percentage gain in same-store sales notched in January. FactSet forecast 6.7% growth for the first quarter. Shares slid more than 4% in after-hours trading on T …