Chipotle shares ticked higher in premarket trading Tuesday, reversing an earlier decline of roughly 4 percent, after the burrito chain reported, a smaller decline in same-store sales during the fourth quarter.
Sales at Chipotle’s established restaurants fell 4.8 percent during the fourth quarter, thanks to a lift in November and December. After plummeting 20 percent in October, comparable sales improved in the final two months of the year, as the chain faced easier comparisons from the prior-year period.
Chipotle’s same-store sales slipped just 1.4 percent in November, and increased 14.7 percent in December. A highly publicized E.coli outbreak sent the company’s results in a tailspin in October 2015. Since then, the stock has dropped nearly 50 percent. Chipotle had previously told investors that comparable sales would fall in the low single digits during the fourth quarter.
The restaurant chain also reported sales and an earnings forecast for the three-month period that came in short of Wall Street’s expectations.
During the three-month period, Chipotle’s overall sales rose to $1.04 billion, from $997.5 million a year ago. However, that was below Wall Street estimates for $1.05 billion.
The company expects to earn between 50 cents and 58 cents a share, which is well below the consensus estimate of 96 cents.
Before the opening bell, Chipotle shares were recently up 4.5%.