Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ:BWLD) released second-quarter 2016 results Tuesday after the market close. And despite posting another quarter of same-store sales declines, the wings, beer, and sports-centric restaurant chain is pleased with its performance.
Quarterly revenue climbed 15% year over year, to $490.2 million, albeit driven entirely by new restaurant openings and franchise acquisitions over the past year. Same-store sales fell 2.1% and 2.6% at company-owned and franchised restaurants, respectively. On the bottom line, that translated to 10.2% growth in net income, to $23.7 million, and -- with the help of repurchases over the past year, including 548,402 shares bought back for $75 million last quarter -- a 13.1% increase in earnings per diluted share, to $1.27.
Buffalo Wild Wings doesn't typically offer specific quarterly financial guidance. But for perspective, and though we usually don't pay much attention to Wall Street's near-term demands, analysts' consensus estimates predicted higher revenue of $498.3 million, and slightly lower earnings per share of $1.26.
Buffalo Wild Wings CEO Sally Smith stated:
Buffalo Wild Wings remains strong, and we're continuing to differentiate our brand for the long-term while also implementing near-term traffic driving programs. We launched a 15-minute guarantee for our FastBreak lunch program at the beginning of the third quarter, and we're pleased with its early results. Also in the third quarter, we will be highlighting our value offering on Wing Tuesdays. We are looking forward to the return of football and our new fall media campaign. There is no better place than Buffalo Wild Wings to host your fantasy football draft party and catch all the action on the gridiron this year.
That's fair enough, as Smith often refers to American football season as her company's "favorite time of the year." And just as I had hoped in my earnings preview last week, Smith's comments directly touched on two of the company's sales-driving initiatives revealed last quarter, including its efforts to improve and promote its value proposition, and to enhance the FastBreak lunch program with a speed-of-service guarantee.
During the subsequent conference call, Smith also noted that takeout sales comprised around 15.7% of total sales after climbing 25% year over year, helped by solid consumer response to B-Dubs' new digital ordering platform. And in another unique opportunity to find incremental sales, Buffalo Wild Wings has begun testing delivery service in two locations -- a decision it made after Buffalo Wild Wings ranked fourth in a recent survey from Morgan Stanley as one of the top companies from which consumers want food delivered.
In the meantime, Buffalo Wild Wings continued to keep costs in check amid what Smith described as a "challenging sales environment." Cost of labor fell 20 basis points year over year, to 32% of total revenue. And while cost of sales climbed 40 basis points, to 29.7% of total revenue, the metric still sits around 10 basis points lower on a year-over-year basis through the first six months of 2016.
Moreover, Buffalo Wild Wings reiterated its guidance for full-year 2016 earnings per diluted share of $5.65 to $5.85, or growth of 13.7% to 17.7% over earnings in 2015.
Recall that three months ago, COO James Schmidt told investors this range assumed "improving sales trends throughout 2016," including a return to same-store-sales growth by the end of the year. Now, however, Buffalo Wild Wings curiously removed its assumption for improving same-store sales this year. To its credit, though, Buffalo Wild Wings continues to anticipate adding 40 company-owned restaurants this year, as well as 30 to 35 franchised locations, 12 to 15 franchised locations internationally, and six company-owned and four franchised R Taco restaurants. As it stands, there are over 1,190 Buffalo Wild Wings locations globally.
Presumably in a move to appease investors in the meantime, Buffalo Wild Wings is reining in expenses, with capital expenditures now expected to be $170 million for the year, down from $190 million previously. In addition, Buffalo Wild Wings expects to allocate a total of roughly $150 million for share repurchases this year, up from previous guidance for $100 million.
Finally, Smith also teased during the conference call that Buffalo Wild Wings is "in the process of evolving [its] capital strategy," and she promised more details regarding leverage and returns to shareholders at its analyst day three weeks from now.
In the end, it's evident that Buffalo Wild Wings is intent on continuing to reward shareholders even as it weathers its current difficult sales environment. As the company gradually works toward its long-term goal of nearly tripling its restaurant base to 3,000 locations worldwide, I think patient investors will be happy they held on.