Updated from 9:55 a.m. EST

Chipotle  (CMG)  said this morning that same-restaurant sales are returning to growth after a string of food-borne illnesses weighed on the company's stock price and sales last year. 

Shares were surging about 5.3% to $416.05 in Tuesday afternoon trading. 

The Mexican-style food chain expects a same-restaurants sales decline of 4.8% in the fourth quarter. 

The figure is below analysts' estimates for a 3.8% drop, but has been improving with each month. Chipotle reported a 20.2% decline in October, 1.4% decrease in November and 14.7% growth in December.

The company is facing relatively easy year-over-year comparisons. Same-restaurant sales were down 14.6% in the 2015 fourth quarter and 29.7% the following period after numerous cases of E. coli were linked to Chipotle in late 2015.

Also benefiting the restaurant chain are a resurgence of catering and bigger online orders, CFO Jack Hartung said at the ICR Conference this afternoon.

The company has regained more than two-thirds of the catering and large online orders that it lost a year ago, Hartung said.

Chipotle nonetheless guided for current-quarter earnings to be almost half of what analysts have projected.

The Denver-based company expects fourth-quarter earnings between 50 and 58 cents per share, sharply below the FactSet consensus of 96 cents per share. 

Chipotle has guided for revenue of $1.035 billion, while analysts are looking for $1.049 billion.

The company is scheduled to report fourth-quarter results after the market close on February 2. 

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