Cracker Barrel
Net incomes slipped 4 percent; hurricane weigh on comparable sales and traffic.
LEBANON, Tenn. – The impact of hurricanes Harvey and Irma weighed on results for the first quarter of fiscal 2018 at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc.

The company reported net income of $46,380,000, or $1.92 diluted earnings per share, down 4 percent from $48,355,000, or $2.01 per diluted share reported in the first quarter of 2017. The company said hurricanes Harvey and Irma reduced first quarter diluted earnings per share by an estimated $0.07.

Total revenue for the quarter was $710,368,000 compared with $709,971,000.

Comparable restaurant sales climbed 0.2 percent, Cracker Barrel said, including a 2.0 percent increase in average check that was partially offset by a 1.8 percent decline in store traffic. The average menu price increase for the first quarter was roughly 2.2 percent. Comparable retail sales slipped 3.6 percent, the company reported.

The effects of hurricanes Harvey and Irma reduced fiscal first quarter traffic and restaurant sales by approximately 0.3 percent and retail sales by approximately 0.6 percent, Cracker Barrel said.

“We delivered positive comparable store restaurant sales in the first quarter, outperformed our casual dining peers, and exceeded our earnings expectations, despite the challenges presented by the impact of hurricanes Harvey and Irma on many of the communities in which we, our customers and our employees live and work,” President and CEO Sandra B. Cochran said in a statement. “In addition, our field and leadership teams made significant progress on the introduction of several key business initiatives, including the system-wide rollout of our off-premise platform.”

Cochran added that Cracker Barrel remains well-positioned to deliver earnings growth from initiatives slated for 2018 despite expectations for continued wage and commodity pressure. The company expects to report diluted earnings per share of between $8.75 and $8.90 for fiscal 2018, reflecting the impact from hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Total revenue for the fiscal year is estimated at $3.1 billion, which includes the opening of eight or nine new Cracker Barrel restaurants and three new Holler & Dash stores; and higher comparable restaurant sales of between 2.0 percent and 3.0 percent, the company said. Operating income margin is expected to be approximately 10.5 percent of total revenue.

For the second quarter of 2018, the company expects to report earnings per diluted share of between $2.15 and $2.25.