Chipotle 4Q profit jumps 47%

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. reported a 47-percent increase in profit for its fourth quarter despite rising food costs and bad weather across the U.S. in December that was expected to dampen results.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, the Denver-based company reported net income of $46.4 million, or $1.47 per share, compared with earnings of $31.6 million, or 99 cents per share, for the fourth quarter a year earlier.

Revenues rose 24.5 percent to $482.5 million. The company noted that revenue growth was the result of new restaurants not in the comparable base. During the quarter Chipotle opened 62 new restaurants, and ended the year with a system total of 1,084 units.

Fourth quarter same-store sales increased 12.6 percent for the quarter on increased customer traffic, offsetting higher food costs, the company said.

For the full 2010 fiscal year, net income totaled $179.0 million, or $5.64 per share, compared with 2009 earnings of $126.8 million, or $3.95 per share. Latest year revenue increased nearly 30 percent to $1.84 billion. Same-store sales rose 9.4 percent.

Chipotle opened 129 restaurants in 2010, including one in London and another in Toronto, Canada.

In 2011, the company expects to open between 135 and 145 new restaurants, including the first Chipotle in Paris. The company also projected same-store sales growth in the low single digits for the current year.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected]