Cracker Barrel Lifts '12 View, Expects 1Q Sales Miss

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store (NASDAQ:CBRL) lifted its first-quarter profit view amid higher average checks, though the company predicts sales during the quarter will miss expectations.

The Lebanon, Tenn.-based operator of chain retail and restaurants said it expects to earn between 99 cents and $1.04 cents a share in the first period of fiscal 2012 ended Oct. 28.

The results would be ahead of both its earlier view and average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters of 90 cents.

Sales are slated to come in at $598.4 million, compared with $598.7 million a year ago, which would miss the Street’s view of $603 million.

Comparable sales, or those at stores open more than a year, lowered in customer traffic, restaurant sales and retail sales, partially offset by a 2.2% increase in the first quarter of average checks, the company said.

“We continue to be concerned about consumer spending, but are pleased that our new initiatives appear to be delivering improved results,” Cracker Barrel CEO Sandra Cochran said in a statement.

Despite still slumped demand, the company lifted its fiscal view to a range of $4.10 to $4.25 a share excluding special items from its earlier forecast between $4.10 and $4.25 a share. Wall Street is looking for a full-year profit of $4.10.