Shares of Wendy's Co. rallied 4% in premarket trade Wednesday, after the fast-food chain beat first-quarter profit and sales expectations, and provided an upbeat outlook. Net income for the quarter to April 2 was $22.3 million, or 9 cents a share, compared with $25.4 million, or 9 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. The FactSet consensus was for earnings per share of 8 cents. Revenue fell to $285.8 million from $378.8 million, but was above the FactSet consensus of $281.9 million, as retail sales of $148.2 million beat expectations of $147.3 million. North America sale-store sales increased 1.6% from last year, beating the FactSet consensus of 1.0% growth. The company opened 33 new restaurants during the first quarter. Looking ahead, Wendy's raised its outlook for adjusted EBITDA to a range of $400 million to $406 million from $396 million to $404 million, and affirmed its adjusted EPS outlook of 45 cents to 47 cents and North America same-store sales growth outlook of 2% to 3%. "Driven by our continued focus on profitably growing customer counts with a balanced marketing plan, we have now recorded 17 consecutive quarters of positive same-restaurant sales in North America," said Chief Executive Todd Penegor. The stock has run up 12% year to date through Tuesday, while the S&P 500 has gained 7.1%.
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