Shares of Noodles & Co. plunged 14% in after-hours trade Thursday, after the fast-casual restaurant chain reported disappointing fourth-quarter results and 2015 profit outlook. Net earnings for the quarter ended Dec. 30 rose to $3.5 million, or 11 cents a share, from $2.4 million, or 8 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share were 13 cents, below the FactSet consensus analyst estimate of 14 cents. Revenue rose 19% to $108.5 million, as company-owned same-store sales increased 1.3%, missing analyst forecasts of $110.1 million and 1.8%, respectively. For 2015, the company expects adjusted EPS growth of 20%, while the FactSet consensus of 51 cents implies 34% growth from 2014 EPS of 38 cents. The stock has rallied 26% over the past three months through Thursday's close, while the S&P 500 has gained 2.4%.
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