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Zoe's Kitchen's Downgraded By Maxim After Tough Q1; Growth Story 'Broken For Now'

Zoe's Kitchen's Downgraded By Maxim After Tough Q1; Growth Story 'Broken For Now'

Casual restaurant chain Zoe's Kitchen Inc (NYSE: ZOES) reported first-quarter results Thursday that made it clear the growth story "is broken for now," according to Maxim Group. 

The Analyst 

Maxim Group's Stephen Anderson downgraded Zoe's Kitchen from Buy to Hold with a price target slashed from $20 to $12.

The Thesis

Zoe's reported multiple concerning metrics that fell short of Anderson's expectations, the analyst said in the downgrade note:

  • A "much larger" than expected loss of 13 cents per share versus expectations of a 1 cent per share loss.
  • Revenue of $102.1 million versus expectations of $105.1 million.
  • Comps of negative 2.3 percent versus expectations of positive 1.3 percent.
  • Restaurant-level EBITDA margins of 16.2 percent against expectations of 19.4 percent.

The restaurant chain attributed the weakness to discounting woes and strong competition in the off-premise segment, Anderson said. Management's tone during the conference call was not one of "cautious optimism," but rather "growing concern" about the loss of the lunch business, the analyst said. 

Zoe's concerning earnings report, especially comps and margin misses, signals that Zoe's' customer base "may be more conscious of value than thought previously," the analyst said. The upside case for Zoe's' stock is "limited" at current levels, he said. 

Price Action

Shares of Zoe's Kitchen were plunging 36.14 percent to $9.24 at the time of publication Friday, below the stock's 52-week low of $10.77.

Related Links:

Zoe's Kitchen's Q3 Sets The Table For A Strong 2018

10 Stocks To Watch For May 25, 2018

Latest Ratings for ZOES

Aug 2018JefferiesDowngradesBuyHold
Aug 2018Maxim GroupMaintainsHoldHold
May 2018Maxim GroupDowngradesBuyHold

View More Analyst Ratings for ZOES
View the Latest Analyst Ratings


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