Why Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. Shares Popped

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. (NASDAQ: PLKI  )  were looking extra crispy today, gaining as much as 15% after delivering a promising earnings report.

So what: The fast-food chain beat estimates on both top and bottom lines as same-store sales improved 4.5% in the quarter. CEO Cheryl Bachelder credited the company's strong performance on "newly remodeled restaurants, superior food at sharp price points, and national advertising." Earnings per share improved from $0.40 to $0.46, beating estimates by $0.01, and revenues improved 16%, to 70.1 million, ahead of expectations at $69.5 million.

Now what: Popeyes also delighted the market by lifting its full-year guidance slightly as it now sees full-year comparable sales of 3%-4%, and EPS of $1.58-$1.63, in line with the Wall Street view at $1.62. Management also reiterated its long-term guidance of earnings-per-share growth of 13%-15% for the next five years. While some traditional fast-food chains have struggled recently amid the rise of fast-casual concepts, Popeyes seems to have found the right formula for consistent performance and steady growth. Shares aren't cheap, but could move higher if the company can deliver more quarters like this.

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