Dave & Buster's shares jump as revamped menu, new games boost strong same-store sales growth

Key Points
  • Dave & Buster's reported same-store sales growth that beat Wall Street expectations.
  • The restaurant and gaming company has been investing in virtual reality games and switching up its menu to grow sales.
  • The company also credited favorable weather and a calendar change for its fourth-quarter results.
Customers play a car racing arcade game at a Dave & Buster's Entertainment Inc. location in Pelham, New York, U.S. on Friday, March 24, 2017.
Timothy Fadek | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Shares of Dave & Buster's jumped as much as 4 percent Wednesday after the company's efforts to improve its menu and amusement offerings led to same-store sales growth that beat expectations.

As competition grows in the restaurant and gaming space from upstarts like Punch Bowl Social, Dave & Buster's has been working to streamline its menu while still offering value deals, like its unlimited wings special. It has also been investing in virtual reality games. The company released a new "Dragonfrost" VR game during the fourth quarter that ended Feb. 3.

Interim CFO Joe DeProspero also credited the better-than-expected sales growth to favorable weather during November and December — despite late January's polar vortex — and a calendar change that moved Christmas and New Year's to weekdays this year.

Same-store sales during its fiscal fourth quarter increased 2.9 percent from a year earlier, while analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting same-store sales growth of 2.1 percent. Food and beverage same-store sales rose by 1.1 percent, while amusements and other same-store sales increased by 4.4 percent.

"Against admittedly easy compares and aided by favorable weather/calendar, amusement comps return to mid-single-digit growth for the first time in six quarters and food/beverage comps surprisingly turned positive for the first time in two years," BMO Capital Markets analyst Andrew Strelzik wrote in a note.

However, the company said it expects same-store sales growth in the range of flat to up 1.5 percent in fiscal 2019. Raymond James analyst Brian Vaccaro wrote in a note that his optimism about the company's results are tempered by the fact that Dave & Buster's has been lapping easy same-store sales so far, but that it will become tougher to beat in fiscal 2019.

Dave & Buster's also reported revenue of $332 million, topping Wall Street estimates of $324 million and up 8.8 percent from a year earlier.

It also reported net income fell to $29.4 million, or 75 cents per share, from $35.6 million, or 85 cents a share, a year ago. Excluding a tax gain, and an additional week in the quarter, the company earned 66 cents per share topping the 63 cents per share expected by analysts.

The company now expects revenue for the year to be between $1.37 billion and $1.4 billion.