Shares of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store are down about 10 percent today after the company reported soft fiscal Q3 earnings and said the current quarter will fall well short of analysts’ projections.
Lebanon-based Cracker Barrel said it earned $15.2 million in the three months ended April 29, up 5 percent from a year ago. But earnings per share of 64 cents missed analysts’ consensus by 2 cents as operating margins slipped by 10 basis points to 5.4 percent.
Total revenues rose slightly to $583 million but same-store sales fell 0.3 percent last quarter, a drop from the 0.3 percent gain during the winter and the 2.4 percent rise last fall. Chairman and CEO Mike Woodhouse called the numbers disappointing and said many diners continue to struggle in a slowly recovering economy.
“We need to continue to focus our efforts on providing the great food, service, atmosphere and shopping experience that differentiates our brand,” Woodhouse said.
Looking ahead to his team’s fourth fiscal quarter, Woodhouse said same-store sales are expected to be flat and the operating margin is expected to come in between 6.9 percent and 7.3 percent, down from last year’s 7.4 percent.
Full-year EPS are now forecast to come in between $3.80 and $3.90 — the former is down 15 cents from the range Woodhouse gave investors three months ago. That implies a fourth-quarter profit per diluted share of between 95 cents and $1.05, whereas the Street had been looking for $1.22.
Shares of Cracker Barrel (Ticker: CBRL) opened down about 6 percent this morning and were off 9.6 percent at about 12:30 p.m. Volume was heavy, with about six times the daily average already changing hands. Year to date, the stock is now down about 12 percent.