Cracker Barrel shares rise after 3Q beat

Higher prices help lift Cracker Barrel profit 30 percent in 3Q, restaurant chain ups guidance

Associated Press

LEBANON, Tenn. (AP) -- Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. said Monday that its fiscal third-quarter profit rose 30 percent as higher prices on its menus helped lift sales.

The company, based in Lebanon, Tenn., operates more than 620 locations intended to evoke "America's country heritage." In the latest quarter, it said sales at restaurants open at least a year rose 3.1 percent, reflecting a 2.3 percent increase in its average menu price. Sales at established retail stores, which are connected to its restaurants, rose 5.5 percent.

Cracker Barrel raised its earnings outlook for the year to $4.75 to $4.85 per share from its previous forecast of $4.60 to $4.80 per share.

The company's shares rose $6.04, to 6.8 percent, to $95.50 in morning trading, hitting a 52-week high earlier at $97.24.

For the period ended May 3, the company said it earned $24.6 million, or $1.02 per share, beating the 94 cents per share Wall Street expected. In the year-ago period, it earned $19 million, or 81 cents per share.

Revenue rose 5 percent to $640.4 million, also topping the $629.9 million Wall Street expected, according to FactSet.

Lower labor costs for hourly workers, as a percent of revenue, also helped boost profit.

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