We added Bloomin’ Brands (BLMN) to our Best Ideas list on 11/27/2013 at $26.71/share. Since this time, 2014 EPS estimates have been revised down from $1.33 to $1.22 and the share price has acted accordingly (down ~20%). With this note we are removing Short BLMN from our Best Ideas list.
In our view, Bloomin’ still has issues but we feel our short thesis is largely played out. At 8.02x EV/EBITDA (NTM) and 16.66 P/EPS (NTM), Bloomin’ screens rather attractively relative to other casual dining companies. With that being said, we continue to believe casual companies in general are quite expensive.
Considering an attractive relative valuation and reset expectations, we believe the short setup is no longer favorable from a risk/reward perspective. Decelerating two-year same-store-sales trends and stagnant margins continue to give us cause for concern, but staying short at these levels is no longer compelling.
Despite our move to the sidelines, we continue to believe 2015 estimates for 19% EPS growth on 7% revenue growth are too aggressive.