It appears consumers are back to eating up Chipotle's (CMG) burritos, and now investors are devouring its stock.
After the market close Tuesday, Chipotle reported that first quarter revenue spiked 28.1% to $1.07 billion. Analysts surveyed at Factset were only expecting revenue of $1.05 billion. The burrito king posted first quarter earnings of $1.60 a share, slamming Wall Street's estimates for earnings of 1.29 a share.
Plus, Chipotle saw a sizable same-store sales growth of 17.8%, higher than the 14.9% rise analysts were looking for, helped in part by promotions and ramped up marketing efforts. On a call with analysts, Chipotle said underlying sales strength continued into April. Chipotle CEO Steve Ells said he is "as optimistic" as he's ever been since joining the company 24 years ago.
The company also revealed it will begin testing its first-ever dessert.
Shares of Chipotle climbed as much as 2.2% to $482.19 in pre-market trading on Wednesday. Shares gave back some gains seen on Tuesday evening after Chipotle disclosed that it was a victim of a cyber-attack. Customers' accounts that were used online from March 24 through April 18 have been compromised. Ells declined to comment further pending the investigation.
"We believe media headlines around this issue could cause a moderate pullback in near-term sales trends," wrote Credit Suisse analyst Jason West in a note.
Amazon (AMZN) was the most recent company to reportedly see major hacks on its accounts. Fox News reported, citing anonymous sources, that in the past few weeks hackers have been changing the bank-deposit information on Amazon's active sellers accounts, and have stolen tens of thousands of dollars.
Wendy's (WEN) had a credit card breach last summer that had a brief, modest impact on July sales, West said.
Nevertheless, one of the biggest winners on Chipotle's better than expected quarter is Pershing Square's Bill Ackman.
"While Chipotle's reputation has been bruised, we believe that the business will ultimately recover and become stronger aided by: improved governance, increased focus on operations, appropriate marketing, technology initiatives and passage of time," wrote Ackman in a presentation on Monday ahead of Chipotle's results. Although Ackman conceded the exact timing of the recovery will be "difficult" to predict, he believes that "long-term focused" investors will be rewarded.
Ackman's Pershing Square disclosed a 9.9% stake in Chipotle last September. Since then, Chipotle has abandoned its dual CEO structure by kicking out Monty Moran and installing founder Steve Ells in the top spot. The company has also moved to shake up its board of directors. Ackman praised Ells in the latest presentation, saying Chipotle is a "strong and relevant brand built by visionary leadership."