High Wing Prices Are Frustrating Analysts, Too
In a report published Monday, Wunderlich Securities analyst Robert Derrington commented that "frustratingly high" wing prices add earnings per share risk for Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ: BWLD).
According to Derrington, Buffalo Wild Wings remains one of the industry's "premier" growth stories with double-digit unit growth, consistently strong mid-single digit same-store sales, a strong management team and earnings per share growth that averaged 20 percent annually for the past decade. However, the analyst added that a lack of significant decline in wing prices post-Super Bowl adds a "cautionary tone" to earnings per share expectations for the year.
"Chicken wing prices, which historically peak in proximity of the Super Bowl and gradually decline into the summer months, have remained at relatively elevated levels in recent weeks," Derrington wrote. The analyst continued that Jumbo-cut chicken wing prices on the spot market peaked near $1.85 per pound in February, and this past week were trading near $1.75 per pound – only 5 percent lower than February and still up around 40 percent from a year ago.
Derrington noted that based on conversation with commodity experts, wing prices are expected to decline and are expected to be "relatively flat" year-over year by spring. However, commodity experts have been "somewhat surprised" at the lack of depreciation in wing prices in 2015.
Finally, recent outbreak of poultry diseases seen in four U.S. states has raised some concern that some chicken production may be lost and prices can move higher on a more restricted supply.
Derrington maintained his 2015 earnings per share estimate of $5.90, reflecting a revenue growth of 19.5 percent to $1.812 billion, same-store sales of 5.2 percent, and "relatively flat" restaurant margins of 19.5 percent.
Shares remain Buy rated with an unchanged $208 price target.
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