Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. said Tuesday it earned $144.9 million, or $4.59 a diluted share, in the the third quarter, up from $131 million, or $4.15 a diluted share, a year ago. Revenue rose 12% to $1.2 billion in the quarter, the company said. Comparable-restaurant sales rose 2.6%, Chipotle said. Analysts polled by FactSet expected the fast-casual restaurant chain to report earnings of $4.62 a share on sales of $1.2 billion. Chipotle said its sales growth was due to more customer visits and, to a lesser extent, to price increases in some markets. The company opened 53 restaurants in the quarter, bringing the total to 1,931. Lower costs for avocados and dairy cut down on food costs, the company said, although beef and packaging costs increased. Chipotle said it expects to open 215 to 225 new restaurants this year, up from a previously announced range of 190 to 205 new places. Shares of Chipotle fell 3.5% in late trading Tuesday after ending the regular session down 1.8%.
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