Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (NASDAQ:CBRL) said its Q3 bottom line climbed to $46.92 million, or $1.95 per share. This was up from $43.86 million, or $1.82 per share, in last year’s third quarter. CBRL stock is up just over 1% this morning in pre-market trading.
Analysts had expected the company to earn $1.85 per share, according to its press release. Revenue was flat at $700.41 million versus $700.14 million last year. Wall Street expected $713.06 million. Comparable restaurant traffic was down 2.1% for the quarter.
The company owns and operates 644 Cracker Barrel locations and four Holler & Dash Biscuit House locations across 44 states.
“Our operating income margin continues to grow as a result of commodity market favorability and our ongoing cost reduction initiatives,” president and CEO Sandra B. Cochran said in the statement. “Our confidence in the strength of the Cracker Barrel brand is reflected in our raised full-year earnings guidance, our increased quarterly dividend, and our declared special dividend.”
Cracker Barrel’s board increased the quarterly dividend to $1.20 per share, a 4.3% increase over the previous quarterly dividend of $1.15. The board also declared a special dividend of $3.50 per share.
Cracker Barrel management is now guiding 4Q earnings per share in the range of $2.10-$2.20, with FY17 EPS of $8.25-$8.35, Full year revenue is seen coming in at $2.95 billion.
Earlier this year, Zacks Investment Research suggested that totally shying away from investing in the U.S. restaurant space is not wise, pointing out that Cracker Barrel that continues to “reflect strength in several areas and should make a value addition to your portfolio.”
“A stock with beta less than 1 suggests that the price movement of the stock is not highly correlated with the market. Since they are less volatile than the market, they are safer bet at the moment,” Zacks noted. CBRL stock has a beta of 0.34. The shares are up 10% in the past year.