Buffalo Wild Wings’ second quarter profits were down more than 9 percent and fell short of stock analysts’ estimates, as the restaurant chain coped with higher labor and chicken wing costs.
The Golden Valley-based company, known for its wings, beer and sports motif, posted second quarter net earnings of $21.5 million or $1.12 per share, down from $23.7 million or $1.25 a year ago.
Stock analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, on average, were expecting per share profits of $1.26.
Buffalo Wild Wings announced its earnings after the stock market closed Tuesday. On Wednesday, shares were up more than 13 percent in midday trading.
Buffalo Wild Wings recorded sales of $426.4 million, up 16.5 percent over a year ago but short of the $429.3 million expected by analysts.
However, same-store sales, a key financial gauge, rose 4.2 percent over a year ago at stores owned by Buffalo Wild Wings and 2.5 percent at franchised stores — a better performance than analysts expected. Comparable sales take into account newly opened and closed stores.
“We were pleased with our second quarter same-store sales increases,” CEO Sally Smith told stock analysts in a conference call. Still, she noted that “our solid sales performance in the second quarter was offset by a challenging cost environment.”
Quarterly chicken wing costs were 26 percent higher than a year ago. “The wing market remains elevated,” Smith said. “At this time of year, we typically see prices decline.”
Also, labor costs were somewhat higher than expected, she said. Compared with a year ago, labor costs as a percentage of sales were up because of higher wages and benefits, along with the addition of the company’s new “guest experience captain” concept.
The guest experience captain, an added position, helps customers with everything from tablet ordering technology to sampling new sauces.
To help compensate for its cost increases, Buffalo Wild Wings plans to raise prices on alcohol in August and make a menu price increase in November.
In July, Buffalo Wild Wings finalized a purchase agreement to acquire 41 franchised Wild Wings locations in Texas, New Mexico and Hawaii. The acquisition is expected to decrease net earnings in 2015. As a result, Smith said Wild Wings is revising its net earnings growth goal for 2015 to 13 percent. It had been 18 percent.
Mark Smith, a stock analyst with Feltl and Co., said the stock is likely trading up because Buffalo Wild Wings’ same-stores sales were higher than expected in the second quarter.