Chipotle restaurant sales take off, shares soar

Thu Jan 30, 2014 4:17pm EST

Jan 30 (Reuters) - Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc on Thursday reported a bigger-than-expected increase in sales at established restaurants and a nearly 30 percent rise in earnings, sending shares up more than 10 percent in extended trading.

The fast-growing burrito chain said sales at restaurants open at least 13 months, a closely watched gauge of industry performance, rose 9.3 percent during the fourth quarter, better than the analyst estimate for a 6.7 percent gain compiled by Consensus Metrix.

Net income was $79.6 million, or $2.53 per share, during the fourth quarter, up from $61.4 million, or $1.95 per share, a year earlier.

Shares of Chipotle rose 10.6 percent to $546.00 in after-market trading, after closing at $493.96. (Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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