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Why Dave & Buster's Entertainment, Inc. Stock Popped Nearly 12% Early Wednesday

By Steve Symington - Sep 9, 2015 at 11:00AM

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11 a.m. ET: The restaurant chain is up 7.5% on impressive quarterly results and guidance. Here's what investors need to know.

What's happening: Shares of Dave & Buster's Entertainment (PLAY -2.93%) rose 11.8% in Wednesday's early trading after the restaurant and entertainment chain reported better-than-expected fiscal-second-quarter 2015 results. At 11 a.m., the stock was up roughly 7.5% from the previous close.

Quarterly revenue climbed 19.8% year over year to $217.3 million, helped by a combination of new locations -- including two opened during the quarter -- and solid 11% comparable-store sales growth. Meanwhile, adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 37.1% to $52.7 million, and net income came in at $12.6 million, or $0.29 per diluted share, compared to a net loss in the year-ago period of $13.9 million, or $0.42 per share. On a pro forma (adjusted) basis, net income more than doubled to $17.2 million, or $0.40 per diluted share. Analysts, on average, were only expecting revenue and earnings of $203.4 million and $0.23 per share, respectively.

In addition, Dave & Buster's raised guidance for the full fiscal year, and now anticipates revenue of $844 million to $853 million, an increase of $22 million to both ends of the previous range. Comparable-store sales growth is now anticipated to be 6.5% to 7.5% (compared to 4% to 5% before), adjusted EBITDA should be $199 million to $203 million (an increase of $11.5 million to both ends), and pro forma net income is expected to be $52.5 million to $55 million (up $9 million from both ends of the prior range). Based on Dave & Buster's anticipated diluted share count of 42.7 million to 42.8 million, that should translate to pro forma net income per share of approximately $1.23 to $1.29. By comparison, Wall Street's models called for fiscal 2015 revenue near the high end of guidance at $851.8 million, but significantly lower earnings of $1.12 per share.

Why it's happening: On the top line, Food and Beverage revenue rose 16.8% to $99.2 million, while Amusements and Other sales climbed 22.4% to $118.1 million.

Dave & Buster's CEO Steve King added, "Dave & Buster's is enjoying an incredible year of financial performance and we are once again delighted to be raising our annual guidance. During the second quarter, we generated a double-digit comparable store sales gain and have now exceeded the competitive industry benchmark for thirteen consecutive quarters." King also noted the company's "strength was broad-based across our sales categories, operating days, day-parts, and geographies."

Finally, keeping in mind Dave & Buster's has already opened five stores this year, the company raised its development guidance for the full year to eight to nine stores, up from seven to eight locations previously. All but one will be in its lucrative large-store format.

Going forward, Dave & Busters anticipates growing its location base at an annual rate of roughly 10%, with a long-term goal of increasing its current base of 77 stores to more than 200 in North America. All things considered -- and even with shares trading at a seemingly rich 101 times trailing-12-month earnings and 31 times next year's estimates -- it's no surprise the market is bidding up Dave & Buster's stock so aggressively today.

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