Source: Chipotle Mexican Grill; Chipotle didn't disclose traffic for October-January
Chipotle Mexican Grill still has plenty of work to do if it hopes to persuade diners back to its stores. However, analysts seem to be feeling a bit more optimistic about the company's chances at a turnaround after the burrito chain disclosed strong same-store sales growth in January.
While fourth-quarter same-store sales growth fell 4.8 percent, the burrito chain noted that same-store sales in the first month of year were up 24.6 percent. Due to this positive growth, Nomura-Instinet analyst Mark Kalinowski raised his full-year 2017 same-store sales forecast by one percentage point to 9.5 percent.
"This represents a solid start for the year against Chipotle's easiest comparison," John Zolidis, an analyst with Buckingham Research Group, wrote in a research note Friday. "Looking forward, we believe that the sales recovery will accelerate as management aligns store teams against revised customer-oriented goals and as digital and marketing efforts are brought to bear."
The company's same-store sales turned positive in December, rising 14.7 percent, after 13 months of negative same-store sales growth.