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Is El Pollo Loco’s Drop Overdone?

El Pollo Loco Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: LOCO) reported its second-quarter financial results after the markets closed on Thursday, with horrendously perceived results. Perhaps one of the biggest detractors from earnings was the drop in comparable sales that ended a 15-quarter streak.

The crazy chicken had $0.19 in earnings per share (EPS) on $89.5 million in revenue, compared to consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters that call for $0.18 in EPS on $92.96 million in revenue. The same period from the previous year had $0.16 in EPS on $86.90 million in revenue.

Comparable company-operated restaurant sales in the second quarter decreased 0.5%, driven by a 3.9% decrease in traffic, partially offset by a 3.4% increase in average check. This actually breaks the 15-consecutive quarter streak in which El Pollo Loco had increased its comparable sales in each quarter.

Restaurant contribution was $18.0 million, compared to $18.4 million in the second quarter of 2014. Franchise revenue increased 6.0% to $5.9 million, from $5.5 million year over year.

In terms of its guidance, El Pollo Loco expects net income per share, on a pro forma basis, to be in the range of $0.67 to $0.71, as well as growth in comparable restaurant sales in the range of roughly 3% — down from 3% to 5% — and the restaurant contribution margin of 21.2% to 21.5%. The consensus estimates moved up slightly since then to EPS of $0.70 and $371.26 million in revenue from $0.68 in EPS on revenue of $369.30 million.

Shares of the crazy chicken were down 18.3% at $15.00 on Friday afternoon. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $27.67 and a 52-week trading range of $17.51 to $40.89.

ALSO READ: 4 High-Flying Stocks That Have Sold Off Far Too Much

By Chris Lange


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