Chipotle Mexican estimates 4.8 percent drop in fourth-quarter comparable sales

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A Chipotle Mexican Grill is seen in Los Angeles, California, U.S. on April 25, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo (Copyright Reuters 2017)

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc said sales at established restaurants likely fell 4.8 percent in the fourth quarter and that costs came in higher than it had previously anticipated.

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Chipotle's shares were down 3.2 percent at $381.99 in premarket trading.

The company said it incurred higher-than-expected expenses due to higher promotional spending and costs related to television advertising, as it fights to recover from a string of food safety lapses late last year.

Food costs were also higher than anticipated due to increased costs of avocados, the company said in a regulatory filing on Tuesday.

The company estimated sales of $1.04 billion for the quarter ended December, below the average analyst estimate of $1.05 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

(Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)