Shake Shack Inc.
stock rallied 11.8% on Wednesday and 19.8% for the week so far after the burger chain issued a fourth-quarter business update that expects sales to beat the Street.
Shake Shack’s preliminary fourth-quarter sales totaled $157.5 million, above the FactSet consensus of $153.2 million. Same-store sales fell 17.4%, but that was better than the FactSet consensus for a 19.5% decline.
Suburban same-store sales were flat with 2019, but urban same-store sales were down 31%, with Manhattan plunging 49% during the quarter.
But digital channels had a good showing, accounting for 59% of sales and more than tripling year-over-year.
Shake Shack executives spent their presentation at this year’s ICR Conference discussing the future.
Now that the company has laid the groundwork with services like curbside pickup, executives talked up the new restaurant formats and menu items it has planned, and the new customers it can acquire with the continued use of digital tools.
“Given the near-term momentum and their long-term focus, we were not surprised with their optimistic tone and believe there are interesting initiatives in play, which could serve as positive catalysts,” wrote Brett Levy in a note for MKM Partners.
Given the near-term challenges, MKM maintained its neutral stock rating. However, MKM raised its price target to $85 from $65.
BTIG analysts called Shake Shack’s preannouncement “the most impressive” of those that have been issued for the conference. BTIG rates Shake Shack stock neutral.
Analysts led by Peter Saleh said investors are looking at the long-term after a tough end to 2020, though Shake Shack’s numbers “bucked the trend.”
“While restaurant sales trends have clearly weakened over the last two months with further capacity restrictions, investors are looking past the near-term challenges in hopes of being rewarded with more efficient business models following this disruption,” analysts said.
Though challenges remain, Shake Shack’s Chief Financial Officer Tara Comonte was upbeat during the presentation.
“So 2020 was the foundational year for us in terms of building and bringing some of these capabilities to market. We transformed the business to a high level of digital mix,” Comonte said, according to a FactSet transcript.
“But now we’re going to build upon it. We’re only getting started here.”
Shack Shack shares have soared more than 71% over the last year. The S&P 500 index
is up 16% for the period.