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Chipotle (CMG) Stock Rises 17% in 3 Months: More Room to Run?

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Shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (CMG - Free Report) have gained 16.9% in the past three months compared with the industry’s increase of 3%. Robust digital sales, restaurant openings and robust comps growth continue to benefit the company. However, supply chain challenges, elevated wage inflation and expenses associated with new menus remain headwinds. Let’s delve deeper.

Growth Drivers

Chipotle is focusing on expanding its digital program to drive growth. To drive digital sales and retain customers amid the coronavirus crisis, the company is leaving no stone unturned to make digital ordering more appealing to customers and more efficient for its restaurants. In this regard, Chipotle has redesigned and simplified its online ordering site, enabled online payment for catering and online meal customizations, and collaborated with several well-known third-party providers for delivery.

The company is also focused on robotics-based autonomous vehicles for delivery, which is likely to enhance the customer experience in the upcoming periods. Digital sales contributed 39% to sales during the second quarter of 2022. It witnessed a rise in order-ahead transactions, courtesy of enhanced guest access and convenience. This, along with Chipotlanes’ add-ons, drove the company’s performance. The company is focusing on improving order accuracy and timing for its digital business.

This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company is also focusing on restaurant openings to drive growth. In second-quarter 2022, Chipotle opened 42 new restaurants, taking the total restaurant count to 3,052.

Impressive comps performance continues to drive growth. During the second quarter, comparable restaurant sales increased 10.1% year over year, following growth of 9% (in first-quarter 2022), 15.2% (in fourth-quarter 2021), 15.1% (third-quarter 2021), 31.2% (second-quarter 2021), 17.2% (first-quarter 2021) and 5.7% (fourth-quarter 2020).

Consistent strength in digital sales, solid recovery of in-restaurant sales and positive customer reception to new menu items contributed to the company’s results. For the third quarter, the company expects comps growth, including planned price increases in August, in the mid to high single-digit.

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The company, like other industry players, has been facing significant supply chain challenges and inflation across most commodities and categories. During second-quarter 2022, food, beverage and packaging costs, as a percentage of revenues, remained flat year over year to 30.4%.

In the second quarter of 2022, the benefit of menu price increases was overshadowed by higher costs for avocados, packaging, dairy, beef and chicken. For third-quarter 2022, the company anticipates labor costs to be 25% on account of leverage from the menu price increases.

Key Picks

Some better-ranked stocks in the Zacks Retail-Wholesale sector are Tecnoglass Inc. (TGLS - Free Report) , Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (CBRL - Free Report) and Arcos Dorados Holdings Inc. (ARCO - Free Report) .

Tecnoglass currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 24.4%, on average. Shares of the company have increased 6.1% in the past three months. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for TGLS’s 2022 sales and earnings per share (EPS) suggests growth of 28.2% and 47.7%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s levels.

Cracker Barrel currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). It has a long-term earnings growth of 6.9%. Shares of the company have declined 33.6% in the past year.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for CBRL’s 2022 sales and EPS suggests growth of 16.3% and 15.4%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s levels.

Arcos Dorados carries a Zacks Rank #2. It has a long-term earnings growth of 34.4%. Shares of the company have risen 33.6% in the past year.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for ARCO’s 2022 sales and EPS suggests growth of 27.1% and 104.2%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s levels.

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