Chipotle Mexican Grill shares soared more than 10% in after-hours trading Tuesday after the company beat on earnings, showed an improvement in same store sales, and announced it was allocating more money to buy back stock. This was the first quarterly report under the leadership of CEO Brian Niccol, who came over from rival Taco Bell in March.
The restaurant chain, best known for its burritos, reported a adjusted earnings of $2.13 a share, easily beating the $1.57 that analysts surveyed by Bloomberg were expecting.
The company also announced the Board approved investment up to $100 million to use for share buybacks.
“We are in the process of forming a path to greater performance in sales, transactions, margins and new restaurants,” Niccol said in a press release. “This path to performance will be grounded in a strategy of executing the fundamentals while introducing consumer-meaningful innovation across the business.”
First-quarter revenue hit $1.1 billion, a 7.4% increase from a year ago, which was attributed to new store openings. The company opened 35 new restaurants and closed 2 restaurants during the quarter.
For full year 2018, management forecasts 130-150 new restaurant openings and same store sales growth in the low- single digits.
Chipotle shares have gained 27.3% this year.