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The Knapp Track numbers for December were sequentially stronger than November.

Estimated Knapp Track casual dining comparable restaurant sales grew +2.9% in December versus a final accounting period number of 0.6% (versus the prior estimate of 0.2%) in November.  The sequential change from November to December, in terms of the two-year average trend, was +50 bps.

Estimated Knapp Track casual dining comparable guest counts were 0.4% in December versus a final accounting period number of -1.6% (versus the prior estimate of -2.2%) in November.  The sequential change from November to December, in terms of the two-year average trend, was +90 bps.

While the numbers are impressive, it is important to note that there were weather- and calendar-related issues that impacted the print.  Despite that, we see this improvement in casual dining sales as somewhat expected given the improvement in employment data recently. 

Brinker is reporting before the market open tomorrow.  We remain positive on the TRADE (3 weeks or less), TREND (3 months or more) and TAIL (3 years or less) durations.

Howard Penney

Managing Director

Rory Green

Analyst