Cracker Barrel swings to profit, misses on revenue

by Erica Shaffer
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Cracker Barrel
Fourth quarter for Cracker Barrel's comparable sales declined 0.8 percent.
 
LEBANON, Tenn. – Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. reported a 7 percent gain in net income for the fourth quarter, while revenue for the period was flat.

For the fourth quarter ended July 28, 2017, net income totaled $53.9 million, or $2.23 per diluted share, compared with $51.0 million, or $2.12 per diluted share.

Revenue for the fourth quarter eased 0.3 percent to $743.2 million compared with $745.6 million reported in the year-ago quarter.

Comparable store restaurant sales decreased 0.8 percent, including a 1.7 percent decrease in store traffic which was partially offset by a 0.9 percent increase in average check. The average menu price increase for the quarter was approximately 1.4 percent. Comparable store retail sales decreased 4.4 percent for the quarter.

For fiscal 2017, Cracker Barrel reported total revenue increased 0.5 percent to $2.93 billion, compared with fiscal 2016 revenue of $2.91 billion. Net income for fiscal 2017 was $201.9 billion, or $8.37 per diluted share, compared with $189.3 billion, or $7.86 per diluted share, reported for 2016.

“We ended fiscal 2017 with solid operating income margin and earnings growth,” said CEO Sandra B. Cochran. “Since fiscal 2014, when we laid out our three-year strategic plan, we have grown earnings per share by nearly 50 percent, well above our target growth. As we enter the new fiscal year, we anticipate the environment to remain challenged, yet are confident in our plans to invest in the long-term growth of the company.”

For fiscal 2018, Cracker Barrel forecast total revenue of approximately $3.1 billion reflecting the expected opening of eight or nine new Cracker Barrel stores and three or four new Holler & Dash stores. This is in addition to projected increases in comparable store restaurant sales of 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent, and comparable store retail sales being flat to increasing 1.0 percent. The company expects food commodity inflation of approximately 1.5 percent for the year.

Operating income margin is projected to be relatively flat to the prior year as a percent of total revenue. The company expects depreciation expense between $95 million.

The company opened two new Cracker Barrel stores during the fourth quarter bringing the combined Cracker Barrel and Holler & Dash store count to 649 locations at fiscal year-end.

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