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Chipotle Digital Investments Pay Off for Strong Sales Growth

By Daniel Sparks - Feb 4, 2020 at 3:48PM

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The company crushed expectations in its fourth quarter.

Chipotle Mexican Grill's (CMG 2.00%) fourth-quarter financial results are out. Once again, the company served up strong growth, featuring revenue and adjusted earnings per share that easily beat analysts' estimates for the two metrics. Further, Chipotle's comparable-store sales once again increased by a double-digit rate, pushing full-year comp growth above management's guidance for the key retail metric.

Digital sales continued to be a key driver for the quarter, rising 78.3% year over year during the period -- accounting for 19.6% of sales.

Chipotle burrito, chips, and guacamole

Image source: Chipotle Mexican Grill.

A closer look

Total revenue for the period was $1.44 billion, rising 17.6% year over year. This beat a consensus analyst forecast for revenue of $1.4 billion.

Comparable restaurant sales increased 13.4% year over year -- an acceleration from 11% growth in Q3. Comp growth benefited from 8% transaction growth and a 5.4% increase in the average customer check amount. Both of these figures accelerated from Q3 levels. Notably, Chipotle had guided for full-year comparable restaurant sales to increase at a high single-digit rate year over year. Instead, full-year comparable restaurant sales were up 11.1% year over year.

Digital sales for the full year rose 90.3% and accounted for 18% of total sales.

Investments in the company's digital loyalty program, delivery, mobile ordering, and menu innovation paid big dividends for the consumer goods company throughout 2019.

"We had a strong ending to 2019 as Q4 marks the eighth-consecutive quarter of accelerating comparable sales, which highlights that running great restaurants with the right leaders and the right culture is delivering outstanding financial performance," said Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol in the company's fourth-quarter press release.

Daniel Sparks has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Chipotle Mexican Grill. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. Stock Quote
Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc.
$1,663.70 (2.00%) $32.61

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