It's time to loosen your belts, Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ: BWLD ) investors, because your favorite beer-and-wings specialist just reported solid first quarter results.
I wouldn't blame you if you were on the edge of your seat this afternoon going into Buffalo Wild Wings' report. After all, shares fell more than 10% in February when Q4 earnings came in ahead of expectations, but revenue fell just short. In addition, investors revolted following cautious comments from management regarding rising wing costs, which could possibly suppress earnings growth for the remainder of 2014.
Even so, I still went out on a (chicken) limb at the time to suggest B-Dubs' earnings had plenty to like, in part because its new volume-based pricing structure would go a long way toward helping it manage such cost increases.
But before we get to today's really good news, let's get the usual headline figures out of the way for Q1: Total revenue rose 20.9% to $367.9 million, driven by impressive same-store sales growth of 6.6% at company-owned restaurants and 5% at franchised locations. This translated to an impressive 71.3% increase in net earnings per diluted share to $1.49.
Analysts, on average, were looking earnings of just $1.34 per share on sales of $362.96 million, which makes this a solid quarterly beat by any measure. Sure enough, shares are up more than 5% right now in after-hours trading.
About that great news
Better yet, investors need worry no more about pesky food costs keeping a lid on net income growth. Buffalo Wild Wings CEO Sally Smith weighed in, "Based on our first quarter results, second quarter trends in same-store sales, and anticipated food costs, we believe we will achieve net earnings growth of 25% for 2014, an increase from our previous goal for the year."
Buffalo Wild Wings' old goal called for 20% net earnings growth in 2014, so this is a welcome bump which brings it more inline with the premium investors are paying for its shares.
Better better yet, Smith concluded by reminding investors of Buffalo Wild Wings recently unveiled vision of "being a company of 3,000 restaurants worldwide creating the ultimate experience for our guests, and providing sustained growth for our shareholders." To be sure, that's a huge increase over the 1,010 Buffalo Wild Wings locations currently in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
What's a growth-hungry investor to do?
Don't get me wrong. I don't think investors should be willing to buy any company whatever the cost, and shares of Buffalo Wild Wings don't look particularly cheap trading around 35 times last year's earnings and 24 times next year's estimates.
However, I've already made clear my preference for investing in high-quality businesses at a reasonable premium, and Buffalo Wild Wings fits that bill to a T. Even after this pop, that's why I'm still convinced Buffalo Wild Wings stock remains a bargain for patient, long-term investors.
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