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Zoe's Kitchen (ZOES) Posts Earnings in Q3, Cuts Guidance

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Zoe’s Kitchen, Inc.’s third-quarter fiscal 2017 results were affected by the recent hurricanes — Harvey and Irma.

Adjusted earnings of a penny in the quarter bettered the Zacks Consensus Estimate of break-even earnings. However, earnings deteriorated 75% from the year-ago figure of 4 cents owing to the impact of hurricanes and lower restaurant contribution margin. The hurricanes particularly impacted earnings by 2 cents.

Revenues of $77.9 million lagged the consensus mark of $78.6 million by 1% but improved 15.7% year over year backed by restaurant openings. In fact, Zoe’s Kitchen opened 11 company-owned restaurants in the quarter and expects to open another 38 to 40 this year.

However, due to the natural disasters, this fast-casual restaurant chain lost 187 full and partial operating days leading up to roughly $1.1 million of revenue loss.

Zoe's Kitchen, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise


Behind the Headline Numbers

Comparable restaurant sales declined 0.5% owing to a 2.3% decrease in transactions and product mix, offset by a 1.8% increase in price. Notably, hurricanes had an estimated 0.9% negative impact on comps.

Consequently, the figure compared unfavorably with the year-ago quarter’s comps growth of 2.4%. However, it compared favorably with the prior-quarter’s comps decline of 3.8%.

Restaurant contribution margin went down 30 basis points (bps) year over year to 18.8% as increased labor and operating expenses offset the improvement in cost of goods.

2017 Fiscal Outlook Cut

For fiscal 2017, the company expects total revenues of $314.0 million to $316.0 million (earlier $314-$322 million).

Meanwhile, management projects comps in the range of negative 2% to 2.5% (earlier flat to negative 3%).

Further, the company predicts restaurant contribution margin in the band of 18.3% to 18.5%, as compared with the previous range of 18.3% to 19.0%.

We note that Zoe’s Kitchen currently has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Peer Releases

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc.’s (CMG - Free Report) third-quarter 2017 adjusted earnings of $1.33 lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.56 by 14.7%.

Darden Restaurants, Inc.’s (DRI - Free Report) first-quarter fiscal 2018 adjusted earnings of 99 cents per share outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 98 cents by more than 1%. Further, the bottom line rose 12.5% year over year on the back of higher revenues.

Restaurant Brands International, Inc.’s (QSR - Free Report) third-quarter 2017 adjusted earnings of 58 cents per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 49 cents by 18.4%. The figure also improved 34.9% from the prior-year quarter on higher revenues, partly offset by higher expenses.

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