Higher menu prices help Cracker Barrel in 2Q

Cracker Barrel's 2Q performance tops Street's expectations, boosts 2013 adj. profit outlook

Associated Press

LEBANON, Tenn. (AP) -- Cracker Barrel's second-quarter net income rose 38 percent despite inclement weather that kept traffic down in some locations, with stores able to raise their menu prices.

The company topped Wall Street profit and revenue expectations and raised its outlook for the year.

Shares climbed nearly 2 percent in premarket trading Tuesday.

Cracker Barrel earned $35.2 million, or $1.47 per share, for the period ended Feb. 1. That's up from $25.6 million, or $1.10 per share, a year earlier.

Taking out severance expenses and other items, earnings were $1.43 per share.

Analysts that follow the company had been looking for earnings of $1.24 per share, according to a poll by FactSet expected.

Cracker Barrel's stock gained $1.30 to $68.25 before the market open.

Traffic edged up 0.2 percent in the quarter, while the average check rose 3.1 percent. Menu prices increased, on average, about 2.6 percent.

Revenue climbed 4 percent to $702.7 million, outpacing Wall Street predictions of $694.1 million.

Restaurant sales at locations open at least a year climbed 3.3 percent, while retail sales at locations open at least a year increased 3.1 percent.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. said that bad weather lowered its traffic, restaurant and retail sales at locations open at least a year by approximately 0.3 percent.

The Lebanon, Tenn. company now anticipates fiscal 2013 adjusted earnings between $4.60 and $4.80 per share. Its prior guidance was for $4.50 to $4.70 per share. It still expects revenue in a range of $2.6 billion to $2.65 billion.

Analysts predict earnings of $4.65 per share on revenue of $2.63 billion.

For the third quarter, Cracker Barrel foresees earnings of 90 cents to 95 cents per share.

Wall Street expects earnings of 92 cents per share.

Cracker Barrel has 621 company-run locations in 42 states.

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