BJ's Restaurants, Inc. ( BJRI Quick Quote BJRI - Free Report) reported first-quarter fiscal 2021 results, with earnings and revenues surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate. However, the metrics declined on a year-over-year basis. Nonetheless, management stated that it witnessed positive sales trend sequentially with weekly average sales improving from $66,400 (in January 2021) to $97,300 (in March 2021). Notably, easing of capacity restrictions in dining room benefitted the company. Moreover, the company witnessed positive sales momentum in the first three weeks of April as weekly sales averaged approximately $102,500 and comps fell 7% compared with 2019 levels. Following the announcements, shares of the company moved up 4.3% during after-hour trading session on Apr 22. Earnings & Revenues
Adjusted net loss of 14 cents per share was narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 67 cents. In the year-ago quarter, the company had reported adjusted loss of 13 cents per share.
Total quarterly revenues of $223.3 million beat the consensus estimate of $205 million by 8.9%. However, the top line declined 12.3% on a year-over-year basis. Lower comparable restaurant sales led to the decline. However, total restaurant operating weeks increased approximately 0.3% from the prior-year quarter’s levels. Comparable restaurant sales declined 13% compared with 15.5% drop in the year-ago quarter’s levels.
Expenses & Operating Margins
During the fiscal first quarter, labor costs, as a percentage of sales, came in at 36.6%, down 420 basis points (bps) year over year. Occupancy and operating costs (as a percentage of sales) were 26.8% compared with 24.1% in the year-ago quarter. General and administrative expenses (as a percentage of sales) increased 220 bps to 6.8% in the quarter.
Restaurant-level operating margin came in at 11.5% compared with 10.1% in the year-ago quarter. Balance Sheet
As of Mar 30, 2021, cash and cash equivalents totaled $90.7 million compared with $80.3 million on Mar 31, 2020. Total debt as of Mar 30, 2021, remained unchanged at $116.8 million compared with 2020-end levels.
As of Mar 30, 2021, BJ’s Restaurants owned and operated 210 casual dining restaurants (in 29 states), out of which, one is temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 crisis.
In 2021, the company plans to open restaurants in Merrillville, Indiana and Lansing, MI. Nonetheless, the company is steadfast in its commitment to expand presence to at least 425 restaurants.
Zacks Rank & Key Picks
BJ's Restaurants currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see
the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Some better-ranked stocks in the same space include Darden Restaurants, Inc. ( DRI Quick Quote DRI - Free Report) , Chuy's Holdings, Inc. ( CHUY Quick Quote CHUY - Free Report) and Yum! Brands, Inc. ( YUM Quick Quote YUM - Free Report) . Darden sports a Zacks Rank #1, while Chuy's Holdings and Yum! Brands carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Darden 2021 earnings are expected to rise 26.5%. Chuy's Holdings has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 126.5%, on average. Yum! Brands has a three-five-year earnings per share growth rate of 12%. Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2021
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