Are Investors Overreacting to Zoe’s Kitchen Earnings?

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Zoe’s Kitchen Inc. (NYSE: ZOES) was perhaps one of the worst performing stocks in Tuesday’s session as the result of less-than-favorable fiscal second-quarter earnings that came out on Monday after the market close. At first glance, a 20% move in the stock from only a slight revenue miss seems like an overreaction.

Looking at 2016 thus far, Zoe’s actually has outperformed the broad markets, with the stock up over 30% in this time. It doesn’t entirely make sense to give over half of these gains back over a 1% miss from revenues, especially when guidance was more or less in line.

The company said that it had $0.06 in earnings per share (EPS) on $66.3 million in revenue. The consensus estimates called for $0.06 in EPS and revenue of $67 million. In the same period of last year Zoe’s posted EPS of $0.05 and $54.5 million in revenue.

Restaurant contribution increased 23.7% to $14.3 million during this quarter, up from $11.6 million last year. Zoe’s also continued to benefit from lower commodity prices, which were partially offset by an increase in labor and store operating expenses.

At the same time, comparable restaurant sales increased 4.0%, consisting of a 0.9% increase in transactions and product mix, combined with a 3.1% increase in price.

In terms of guidance for the full fiscal year, the company expects total revenue in the range of $277 million to $280 million and comparable restaurant sales growth in the range of 4% to 5%. The consensus estimates for the fiscal year call for $0.13 in EPS on $280.28 million in revenue.

Kevin Miles, president and CEO of Zoe’s Kitchen, commented on earnings:

We’re pleased to have delivered strong second quarter financial results that included a 22% increase in total revenue and our 26th consecutive quarter of positive comparable restaurant sales growth. Furthermore, our topline results and operational execution enabled us to deliver strong profit growth with a 20% increase in adjusted EBITDA. We believe the consistency of our results reflects the success of our long term strategic focus and we remain confident in our potential to operate over 1600 units in the US.

On the books, Zoe’s cash and cash equivalents totaled $14.4 million at the end of the quarter, versus $19.1 million at the end of 2015.

Shares of Zoe’s were trading down nearly 20% at $30.00 Tuesday morning, with a consensus analyst price target of #38.20 and a 52-week trading range of $23.17 to $41.76.