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Chipotle earnings smash estimates as online sales overtake in-person orders

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A person wearing a protective mask and gloves exits a Chipotle restaurant in San Francisco, California, April 19, 2021.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Chipotle Mexican Grill is expected to report its first-quarter earnings after the bell on Wednesday.

Here’s what Wall Street analysts surveyed by Refinitiv are expecting:

  • Earnings per share: $4.89 expected
  • Revenue: $1.74 billion expected

This marks the first quarter that Chipotle will be facing comparisons to its business under the pressure of lockdowns. After last year kicked off with two months of double-digit same-store sales growth, the burrito chain saw its March same-store sales plunge 16% as states temporarily banned in-person dining and consumers stayed home.

Since then, Chipotle’s sales have made a steady comeback, thanks to online and delivery orders. When announcing its fourth-quarter results, the company said that it’s expecting same-store sales growth in the mid-to-high teens during the first quarter, assuming that the pandemic didn’t worsen. January same-store sales rose 11%, fueled by the launch of cauliflower rice, which costs an extra $2 per order.

The rice substitute isn’t the only new menu item that Chipotle released in the first quarter. The company launched quesadillas as a digital-only option in mid-March.

Shares of the company have nearly doubled in value over the last year, giving it a market value of $42.8 billion.

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