On an adjusted basis, earnings per diluted share increased 7.1 percent from adjusted earnings per share of $1.82 in the prior year quarter.
Total revenue for the third quarter ended April 28, 2017 was $700,410,000 compared to $700,136,000 reported in the prior-year quarter.
Comparable store restaurant sales decreased 0.4 percent, the company said, due to a 2.1 percent decline in comparable store restaurant traffic that was partially offset by a 1.7 percent increase in average check. The average menu price increase for the quarter was approximately 1.6 percent. Comparable store retail sales declined 4.7 percent compared to the third quarter last year.
“We are pleased to report that third quarter earnings per diluted share exceeded our expectations,” said Sandra B. Cochran, president and CEO. “Our operating income margin continues to grow as a result of commodity market favorability and our ongoing cost reduction initiatives. 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.”
The company raised its full-year earnings guidance to report earnings per diluted share between $8.25 and $8.35. Total revenue is forecast at approximately $2.95 billion, which reflects the opening of six new Cracker Barrel restaurants and three new Holler & Dash Biscuit House restaurants throughout fiscal 2017, the company said.
Comparable store restaurant sales are forecast between flat and 0.5 percent, while the company expects comparable store retail sales to decline 3.5 percent, reflecting the company’s more cautious expectations for the fourth quarter. Cracker Barrel expects to report earnings per diluted share of between $2.10 and $2.20 for the fourth quarter of 2017.