Unhappy investors bid Cheesecake shares 6.5% lower to $29.22 in the first hour of trading Tuesday amid heavier-than-normal volume. Nearly 900,000 shares were already in play, compared with their average daily trading volume of just 904,000. Stifel Nicolaus analyst Steve West told TheStreet recently that restaurant stocks in the upper-mid-scale casual dining and fast-casual segments are doing well, and should continue to do so in 2011. That's because more affluent consumers are coming out of the recession at a faster pace than other Americans. That demographic wasn't as hard hit by the economic downturn but curbed their spending anyhow amid low consumer confidence. Now they're spending again, West said, and chains like Chipotle Mexican Grill ( CMG), Panera Bread ( PNRA), BJ's Restaurants ( BJRI) and Cheesecake Factory are benefiting from the return to consumerism. Cheesecake also said comparable same-store sales at its namesake and Grand Lux Café restaurants increased 0.9% in the recent quarter. Same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least one year, is a closely watched metric in the restaurant industry.
Miriam Reimer. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/miriamsmarket. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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