Buffalo Wild Wings shares fell 11 percent in morning trading today after the company posted another weak quarter on Tuesday.
The Golden Valley-based restaurant chain reported a rare decrease in sales at its existing stores and profits that were well below Wall Street expectations. The next couple of quarters don’t look too hot, either.
Buffalo Wild Wings’ same-store sales are expected to remain stagnant until the last three months of 2016, and chicken wings should be pricier than expected this year. With those glum tidings, Wild Wings lowered its 2016 earnings forecasts from a range of $5.95 to $6.20 per share to $5.65 to $5.85 per share.
The company's shares were down $16.30 to $128.32 in Nasdaq trading shortly after the open.
Buffalo Wild Wings’ earnings were released after the stock market closed Tuesday. A 12 percent drop in after-hours trading foreshadowed this morning's plunge.
The stock is already well off its 52-week high of around $205 last October. The company’s financial performance for the last two quarters of 2015 fell short of investor expectations.
Buffalo Wild Wings, with its beer, wings and sports motif, has been one of the fastest-growing U.S. restaurant chains in recent years.
The restaurant company said that for the quarter ending March 27, it earned $32.8 million, or $1.73 cents per share, up 13 percent from a year ago.
However, stock analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting earnings of $1.78 per share on sales of $530.5 million. The company’s sales came in at $508.3 million, up 15 percent from a year ago, but 4 percent below expectations.
Same-store sales, or sales at outlets open at least a year, were down 1.7 percent at company-owned Wild Wings restaurants and down 2.4 percent at franchised restaurants.
Basically, the company’s first-quarter sales growth came only through opening new outlets. Wild Wings executives said they expected flat same-store sales for the second and third quarters; growth is expected in the fourth quarter.
“We are dissatisfied to report a same-store sales decline, and we’re undertaking several sales-driving initiatives to regain momentum,” Sally Smith, Buffalo Wild Wings chief executive, told stock analysts in a conference call. Those initiatives include an emphasis on Wild Wings’ takeout program, and a “speed of service” guarantee for its “FastBreak” lunch program.
Smith noted that the restaurant industry generally is facing headwinds.
“Certainly, the macro environment for casual dining has had a rough quarter — a rough couple of quarters — and we are impacted by that,” she said. “There isn’t a robust consumer out there.”
But is there a deeper problem with Wild Wings itself?
No, was the answer given to analysts by Smith and Jim Schmidt, Buffalo Wild Wings’ chief operating officer. “We certainly don’t think there’s any fundamental brand issue,” Schmidt said.