In its second-quarter earnings report Tuesday evening, Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc. (NASDAQ: BWLD ) confirmed what many investors had suspected for some time: The wings, beer, and sports-centric restaurant chain was arguably the biggest winner to come out of this year's FIFA World Cup.
B-Dub's same-store sales just jumped a solid 7.7% and 6.5% year over year at company-owned and franchised locations, respectively. To explain the surprising strength, Buffalo Wild Wings CEO Sally Smith pointed to a 100-basis-point benefit to company-owned same-store sales driven by -- you guessed it -- increased traffic from the World Cup. Smith elaborated: "With the 2014 World Cup, we had an opportunity to showcase the brand and capture sales from the growing U.S. soccer audience."
Net earnings fared even better, increasing 43.8%, to $23.7 million, which translated to growth in earnings per diluted share of 42%, to $1.25. Analysts, on average, were only expecting earnings of $1.20 per share on sales of $359.5 million.
Curiously, however, B-Wild's impressive quarter wasn't enough to appease Wall Street. Shares were down more than 13% near market close Wednesday.
This is what drew Wall Street's yellow card
If you're searching for the culprit for the fall, look no further than Buffalo Wild Wings' just-raised 2014 earnings guidance. Specifically, Smith remarked, "[W]e believe net earnings growth will exceed 25% for 2014, and could reach 30%."
That seems all well and good, especially considering that last quarter, the chain expected net earnings growth to merely reach -- not exceed -- 25%. However, analysts went into the report modeling even higher full-year net earnings growth of at least 34%.
Considering that Buffalo Wild Wings stock isn't exactly cheap, trading at around 32 times trailing-12-month earnings and 24 times next year's estimates, it's hard to blame the market for taking a step back today -- even though I'm convinced that's a healthy premium to pay given Buffalo Wild Wings' outsized growth.
What's an investor to do?
Let's keep things in perspective, shall we?
First, note that shares of Buffalo Wild Wings had already risen nearly 11% in the six trading days leading up to its second-quarter report. So, if long-term investors can keep that short-term, anticipatory rise in mind, today's drop seems all that much less significant in the grand scheme of things.
Now, the company's headed into what Smith describes as "our favorite time of the year" -- American football season. Thanks to draft parties and strong traffic throughout the NCAA and NFL seasons, as well as the fact that the bulk of its 1,025 locations are currently located in the U.S., this is where Buffalo Wild Wings has historically shone.
As I pointed out last month, investors shouldn't view Buffalo Wild Wings' World Cup strength as an isolated event. Rather, Buffalo Wild Wings regularly preps for, and takes advantage of, similar surges in traffic from virtually every other popular sporting event throughout the year. Going forward, and as a Buffalo Wild Wings shareholder myself, I'm particularly encouraged by the company's ability to capitalize on captive sports fans, no matter what the occasion.
Over the long term, this bodes well for Buffalo Wild Wings' goal of nearly tripling its global restaurant base to 3,000 locations. For shareholders who don't mind weathering a bit of short-term volatility as that expansion plays out, Buffalo Wild Wings stock looks like a fantastic bet today.
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