Chipotle's Sales Still Tanking In Wake Of E. Coli Outbreak

The burrito chain saw sales fall 15.2 percent in the last quarter.
Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

(Reuters) - Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc on Tuesday said it expects sales at established restaurants to grow in the “high single digit” percentages next year, which would end a long string of declines following food safety lapses last year.

Shares in Chipotle were down 1.4 percent at $400 in after-hours trading after the burrito chain said third-quarter sales at restaurants open at least 13 months dropped 21.9 percent. Analysts, on average, had expected a decline of 18.7 percent, according to tracking firm Consensus Metrix.

Traffic declined 15.2 percent for the quarter.

Net profit fell to $7.8 million, or 27 cents per share, during the quarter due to the sales slowdown and a variety of charges, from $144.9 million, or $4.59 cents per share, a year earlier.

Chipotle also said it planned to build 195 to 201 new restaurants next year, down from 220 to 235 in 2016.

(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Chris Reese)

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