Cheesecake Factory Shares Sweeten on Sales Results

Cheesecake Factory reported sales progress and expects to have about 65% of its dining rooms reopened with limited capacity by mid-June.
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Cheesecake Factory  (CAKE) - Get Report served up some sweet news for investors, saying its sales at reopened restaurants, shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic, have reached roughly 75% of the year-ago levels.

Shares of the Calabasas Hills, Calif., company were at last check up 20% to $25.19.

About 25% of its 294 restaurants, including 34 Cheesecake Factory locations, have reopened dining rooms with limited capacity in accordance with local social distancing requirements, the company said. 

The company said it began reopening dining rooms in the second week of May. 

The reopened Cheesecake Factory restaurants have recaptured, on average, about 75% of prior-year sales levels, "reflecting continued strength in off-premise sales and building dine-in business." the company said.

Cheesecake Factory in March had shifted to off-premise business as governments and health officials sought to slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

The company said it expects to have about 65% of its dining rooms reopened with limited capacity by mid-June, including an anticipated 124 Cheesecake Factory restaurants.

Same-store sales for the second quarter through May 31 are down about 63%. 

This includes the impact of 87 full or partial closures due to demonstrations across the U.S. this past weekend. 

People are protesting the death of George Floyd, an African-American man, who was killed while being arrested by Minneapolis police officers.

Two autopsies determined that Floyd's death was a homicide and one officer was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Stephens analyst James Rutherford said Wednesday that while the first wave of reopenings is seeing "good" initial sales, he advised against assuming that level of sales for every unit, given the possible difference in consumer behavior in coastal areas. 

He maintained an underweight rating on the company due to long-term headwinds related to its mall exposure and affirmed a $14 price target.