Wingstop rode a surging digital business to stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter sales.
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The buffalo wing chain earned $3 million in the three months through December as revenue surged 31.4 percent year-over-year to $53.2 million, edging out the $53 million that analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting. Adjusted earnings of 14 cents a share missed projections of 17 cents.
Online sales spiked 39 percent, and domestic same-store sales were up 12.2 percent.
For all of last year, Wingstop posted a profit of $20.5 million, or 69 cents a share, as revenue increased 30.4 percent to $199.7 million.
“2019 was a year of strong execution for Wingstop as we closed out our 16th consecutive year of positive same-store sales growth, grew overall restaurant count by 10.6% and system-wide sales by 20.1%, which translated to adjusted EBITDA growth of 16.3%,” CEO Charlie Morrison said in a statement.
Wingstop said its fourth-quarter supply costs jumped 18 percent from a year ago to $10.5 million, driven by a 7.6 percent increase in the cost of bone-in chicken wings. Prices for those wings rose 18.1 percent for the full year.
The company opened a net 45 restaurants in 2019, bringing its total to 1,385 system-wide.
Wingstop's board of directors declared an 11 percent dividend, resulting in a total payout of $3.2 million.
Looking ahead, Wingstop sees mid-single digit domestic same-store sales growth.
Wingstop shares rose 17.9 percent year-to-date, outperforming the S&P 500's 4.3 percent gain.