Buffalo Wild Wings’ stock was down 13 percent in early trading Wednesday morning after the company posted profits and sales that fell well short of Wall Street’s expectations.
After the stock market closed Tuesday, Golden Valley-based Wild Wings announced earnings of $29.1 million, or $1.52 per share, up 2.6 percent over the same period a year go. But analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, on average, were looking for $1.63 per share.
Buffalo Wild Wings’ sales clocked in at $440.6 million, up 20 percent over a year ago. But that also was short of analysts’ expectations of $452.4 million.
The company’s stock closed at $183.70 on Tuesday, up $4.55. This morning, it was at $159.38 about a half-hour after trading began.
Buffalo Wild Wings is one of the most successful U.S. restaurant concepts in recent years, consistently growing its sales and profits with its wings and sports theme.
CEO Sally Smith told stock analysts that she was pleased with first quarter same-store sales, an important financial gauge that accounts for newly opened stores. Same-store sales at company-owned and franchised-owned restaurants, respectively, rose 7 percent and 6 percent.
“Sales were exceptionally strong during the college football bowl games, as well as the NFL playoffs,” Smith said.
An analyst asked her if sales were disappointing in March, prime time for the nation’s annual college basketball tournament. “We felt we had a good March Madness,” Smith said.
During the first four weeks of the second quarter, Buffalo Wild Wings said its same-store sales increased 4.2 percent at company-owned restaurants, and 1.8 percent at franchised locations.
The company’s growth appeared to slow in the latter half of the first quarter, said Mark Smith, a stock analyst at Feltl and Co. “It certainly seems like they had good sales momentum early in the quarter, but then it dropped off.”
At the same time, Wild Wings’ labor costs have been growing a bit more than expected as the company has rolled out its “guest captain” concept, Mark Smith said.
The guest captain focuses on customer experiences.