PNRA reported 1Q EPS $1.64 vs. consensus of $1.65 and SSS of 3.3% which missed the 4.3% consensus expectations. The company pulled the weather card, citing an impact of -1.0% to -1.5% impact from traffic. The quality of the earning was low in the quarter as EPS benefited $0.05 from resolution of tax matters. The company left the full year guidance unchanged at +17-19% growth or $6.89-$7.01 (including an extra week).
During 1Q13, traffic was -2.4% vs. expectations of -0.9%, which was a sequential decline of -240 basis points from 4Q12. Even adding back the weather impact of 1.5%, traffic declined 90 basis points sequentially.
The bulls will likely highlight that the March and April comparable sales growth numbers seem back on track, with March running at +4.7% and the first 27 days of April seeing comparable sales growth at +5% at company locations. Assuming +5.5% in traffic and mix this still suggests negative traffic and we expect traffic to remain pressured for the balance of the year. Considering the national cable marketing effort that kicked off in February, as part of the higher advertising spending plan for 2013, this is a red flag.
Our short thesis remains intact and we expect consensus estimates to be revised down over the coming weeks. Management maintaining FY13 guidance has heightened the risk that 2H13 earnings miss expectations.
The company is hosting its EPS conference call at 8:30am ET. We’ll post on anything incremental after the call.