I don’t know about your family, but in mine, eating out is one of the first things to go when money gets tight.
That’s bad news for a handful of fine and casual dining destinations, one of which is Bloomin’ Brands (BLMN) — the company behind Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar and Roy’s.
Analysts have already been expressing doubt about the casual dining sector — including other stocks like Chili’s parent Brinker International (EAT) and Texas Roadhouse (TXRH) — pointing to “sluggish sales” and the fact that the first half of the year’s outperformance was “driven by multiple expansion and not an increase in earnings forecasts.”
Indeed, retail sales numbers for June confirmed that restaurant spending has already been suffering, dropping 1.2% from the month before even as overall spending ticked up 0.4%. Add higher gas prices to that recipe, and the sector could be in for a tough time.
This is especially true for Bloomin’, which had doubled its 2012 IPO price by earlier this month but has since lost momentum, shedding 15% in the past couple weeks.