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High Expenses to Hurt BJ's Restaurants' (BJRI) Earnings in Q1

Zacks Equity Research

BJ's Restaurants, Inc. BJRI is scheduled to report first-quarter 2019 results on Apr 25, after the market closes.

The company has been undertaking various initiatives to improve sales that are expected to have reflected in the to-be-reported quarter’s top line. However, despite vigorous cost-containment initiatives, BJ's Restaurants is unable to curb high expenses, which is likely to have hurt earnings in the first quarter.

Notably, in a year’s time, shares of the company have lost 7.2% against the industry’s rally of 22.7%.

 

Let’s have a look at how BJ's Restaurants’ revenues and earnings will shape up in the to-be-reported quarter.

Top Line to Gain

In 2018, the company witnessed sales growth of 8.3% year over year. Given its continued efforts in effectively driving sales, we believe that the upside trend has continued in the first quarter. Subsequently, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for first-quarter revenues is pegged at $289.4 million, reflecting a 3.9% year-over-year increase from the year-ago reported figure.

In the first quarter, BJ’s Restaurants is expected to have focused on productivity and efficiency along with a plan of balanced restaurant opening. In fact, owing to initiatives such as advanced cooking methods and modification of restaurant services, the company is expected to witness off-premise sales growth in the to-be-reported quarter.

High Costs to Hurt Earnings

Despite various positives such as cost-saving initiatives, higher marketing expenses and costs related to sales-boosting initiatives have been weighing on BJ’s Restaurants’ margins. In 2018, the company’s total expenses increased 6.6% year over year and the factors that resulted in higher costs are likely to have prevailed in the first quarter.

Particularly, slow roasting ovens and handheld tablets are adding to the restaurants’ labor costs. The company is also facing high general and administrative expenses. We believe that such high expenses may have hurt BJ’s Restaurants’ earnings in the first quarter. Subsequently, estimates for first-quarter earnings of 50 cents suggest 25.4% decline from the year-ago quarter’s reported figure.

Our Quantitative Model Doesn’t Predict a Beat

BJ’s Restaurants does not have the right combination of the two main ingredients — a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) or higher — for increasing the odds of an earnings beat.

Earnings ESP: The company has an Earnings ESP of 0.00%. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.

Zacks Rank: BJ’s Restaurants currently has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

We caution against stocks with a Zacks Rank #4 or 5 (Strong Sell) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions.

BJ's Restaurants, Inc. Price and EPS Surprise

 

BJ's Restaurants, Inc. Price and EPS Surprise | BJ's Restaurants, Inc. Quote

Stocks to Consider

Here are a few stocks from the Restaurant space that investors may consider as our model shows that these have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat in the first quarter.

Bloomin’ Brands BLMN presently carries a Zacks Rank #3 and has an Earnings ESP of +0.20%. The company is scheduled to report quarterly numbers on Apr 26.

Yum! Brands YUM has an Earnings ESP of +2.02% and a Zacks Rank #3. The company is scheduled to report quarterly numbers on May 1.

Dunkin’ Brands DNKN has an Earnings ESP of +0.13% and a Zacks Rank #3.You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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