Has-been bur­rito?

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - NATION + WORLD -

Wall Street hasn’t been swayed from its cau­tious stance on Chipotle as the fast-food chain pushes for­ward with a range of ef­forts to pull out of a sales rut fol­low­ing a dam­ag­ing food safety scare last year.

The com­pany’s lat­est quar­terly re­port showed a con­tin­ued de­cline in sales for the once high-per­form­ing pur­veyor of bur­ri­tos. Chipotle re­cently started sell­ing chorizo at restau­rants na­tion­wide and is mov­ing ahead with new dessert items, along with im­prov­ing its dig­i­tal or­der­ing ser­vice.

An­a­lysts aren’t im­pressed by the moves and have doubts about the com­pany’s ex­pec­ta­tions for a same-store sales boost next year. Wed­bush an­a­lyst Nick Setyan said the lat­est re­port of­fers lit­tle ev­i­dence to sup­port a sales re­cov­ery next year and said a sales re­cov­ery in 2018 is a best-case sce­nario. “Given the most re­cent sales dis­clo­sures, we do not have vis­i­bil­ity into the tra­jec­tory at which sales may re­cover ab­sent sig­nif­i­cant pro­mo­tional ac­tiv­ity,” Setyan said. Stifel an­a­lyst Paul Wes­tra said the com­pany’s list of ef­forts ef­fec­tively ends its 20-year run of “no-new-news-re­quired” to boost sales.

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