Buffalo Wild Wings boasts strong sales in 3rd-Q profit jump

MINNEAPOLIS Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. said Monday that increased same-store sales and new restaurant openings helped to drive a 7.1-percent year-over-year increase in third quarter profit.

The chicken-wing chain’s same-store sales increased 6.8 percent at corporate locations and 2.1 percent at franchised restaurants. The operator-franchisor to the 545-unit chain is as of Monday the only casual-dining company to post positive same-store sales results for the September-ended quarter, according to public company results that have included the sector’s largest brands of Applebee’s, Chili’s and The Cheesecake Factory.

The Olive Garden, owned by Darden Restaurants Inc., posted a same-store sales increase of 2.4 percent for its latest fiscal quarter ended Aug. 24, but that result does not include September, when industry sales slowed even further by all accounts because of the volatile stock market and further decline in economic conditions.

Buffalo Wild Wings’ rise in same-store sales, coupled with the openings of 12 corporate restaurants and 12 franchised locations, led to a revenue increase of 28.8 percent to $106.1 million for the quarter ended Sept. 28.

Earnings increased 7.1 percent to $4.6 million, or 25 cents per share, compared with year-ago results of $4.3 million, or 24 cents per share. The latest-quarter per-share earnings results missed analyst expectations, which averaged 31 cents, according to Thomson Financial.

Buffalo Wild Wings reiterated annual goals for revenue growth of 25 percent from a year ago and per-share earnings growth of between 20 percent and 25 percent from a year ago.