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Restaurant Stocks: Earnings to Watch

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store

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Cracker Barrel Old Country Store (CBRL) reported fiscal first quarter earnings on Nov. 23.

Revenue: $598.7 million, compared with year-earlier sales of $581.2 million.

Net Income: $23.7 million, compared with year-earlier earnings of $18 million.

Net Earnings Per Share: $1.01, compared with year-earlier EPS of 78 cents per share.

Analysis: Analysts from Standpoint Research issued a downgrade on Cracker Barrel shares in September to hold, from accumulate. In August RBC Capital Markets, which had a sector perform rating on the stock, dropped its coverage of the restaurant chain.

Cracker Barrel topped earnings expectations but revenue came up short of expectations for $600.3 million.

Cracker Barrel said comps and retail sales increased 2.4% and 1.5%, respectively, in the recent quarter, thanks in part to a 0.5% uptick in guest traffic.

The Lebanon, Tenn.-based restaurateur reaffirmed its fiscal 2011 outlook for revenue to grow between 3% and 4.5%, or between $2.47 billion and $2.51 billion.

Forecasted revenue growth is based on the opening of 11 new Cracker Barrel units during the year, comps growth between 1.5% and 3% and comparable store retail sales growth between 2% and 4%.

Fiscal 2011 EPS is projected to be in the range of $3.95 to $4.10 per share. Analysts expect Cracker Barrel to post full-year EPS of $4.07 per share.

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