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What: Shares of wing-slingin' restaurant Buffalo Wild Wings (Nasdaq: BWLD ) were wild with excitement after fourth-quarter earnings were announced, jumping as much as 12% in intraday trading.
So what: Nothing seems to be able to stop this spicy Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick. For the fourth quarter, B-Wild reported $0.55 in earnings per share, easily above the $0.52 that Wall Street was expecting. Net earnings growth of 25% for the full year topped the company's own target. Interestingly, while other fast-food joints like McDonald's (NYSE: MCD ) have been battling commodity costs, the cost of wings actually fell for B-Wild, which boosted the company's profitability.
Now what: If there was a smudge on the strong fourth-quarter results, it was that same-store sales declined 0.3% at company-owned restaurants and 1.1% at franchised locations. However, it appears that's reversing in the first quarter of this year as company-owned locations are thus far up 3.8%, and franchised same-store sales have gained 1.5%. Management sees 2011 earnings growth slowing from 2010, but still projects an enviable 18% increase. Buffalo Wild Wings has been a great growth company and a rewarding stock for investors, but currently priced at more than 21 times estimated 2011 earnings, shares don't come cheap.
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