Cracker Barrel Reports Results for Third Quarter Fiscal 2015, Raises Full-Year Earnings Guidance, Increases Quarterly Dividend and Declares Special Dividend

June 2, 2015 at 8:00 AM EDT

Positive Comparable Store Traffic, Restaurant and Retail Sales

Adjusted EPS Increased 21% to $1.49

Board Increases Quarterly Dividend to $1.10 per share and Declares Special Dividend of $3.00 per share

LEBANON, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. ("Cracker Barrel" or the "Company") (Nasdaq:CBRL) today reported financial results for the third quarter of fiscal 2015 ended May 1, 2015.

Third-Quarter Fiscal 2015 Highlights

  • Compared to the prior-year third quarter, comparable store traffic increased 1.8%, comparable store restaurant sales increased 5.2% and comparable store retail sales increased 4.5%.
  • Fourteenth consecutive quarter of outperformance of the Knapp-TrackTM casual dining index.
  • On a GAAP basis, operating income margin was 8.1% of total revenue, compared with 7.0% in the prior year quarter. Adjusted to exclude the impact of additional charges related to the settlement of the previously disclosed Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") litigation, adjusted operating income margin was 8.2% of total revenue, compared to prior year adjusted operating income margin of 7.2%. (See non-GAAP reconciliation below.)
  • On a GAAP basis, earnings per diluted share were $1.47, or $1.49 when adjusted to exclude the impact of charges related to the FLSA settlement, a 21% increase over adjusted earnings per diluted share of $1.23 in the prior year quarter.

Commenting on the third-quarter results, Cracker Barrel President and Chief Executive Officer Sandra B. Cochran said, "We believe that our strong sales performance in the quarter is the result of general increases in consumer spending, our strong value positioning, and the continuing success of our marketing initiatives. Our margin improvement in the quarter reflects the continuing implementation of our cost savings initiatives and the leverage of higher sales."

Third-Quarter Fiscal 2015 Results


The Company reported total revenue of $683.7 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2015, representing an increase of 6.3% over the third quarter of the prior year. Comparable store restaurant sales increased 5.2%, including a 3.4% increase in average check. Average menu prices for the quarter were approximately 2.5% higher than in the prior year quarter. Comparable store retail sales increased 4.5% for the quarter.

Comparable store restaurant traffic, average check, and comparable store restaurant and retail sales for the fiscal months of February, March and April and for the third quarter were as follows:









Comparable restaurant traffic       1.9%       1.1%       2.4%       1.8%
Average check       3.4%       3.2%       3.6%       3.4%
Comparable restaurant sales       5.3%       4.3%       6.0%       5.2%
Comparable retail sales       4.6%       5.0%       4.1%       4.5%

Operating Income

GAAP operating income in the third quarter was $55.5 million, or 8.1% of total revenue. Adjusted to exclude the impact of charges related to the FLSA settlement, adjusted operating income was $56.2 million, or 8.2% of total revenue, compared with adjusted operating income of $46.3 million, or 7.2% of total revenue, in the prior year quarter. As a percentage of total revenue, reductions in labor and related expenses and store operating expenses were partially offset by an increase in cost of goods sold and general and administrative expenses.

Diluted Earnings per Share

On a GAAP basis, earnings per diluted share in the third quarter of fiscal 2015 were $1.47, compared with $1.20 in the prior year quarter. Adjusted to exclude the impact of charges related to the FLSA settlement, adjusted earnings per diluted share were $1.49, compared with adjusted earnings per diluted share of $1.23 in the prior year quarter.

Quarterly Dividend Increase and Special Dividend

The Company announced that its Board of Directors increased the quarterly dividend to $1.10 per share on the Company's common stock, which represents a 10% increase over the Company's previous quarterly dividend of $1.00. The Board of Directors also declared a special dividend of $3.00 per share on the Company's common stock. Both the quarterly dividend and the special dividend are payable on August 5, 2015, to shareholders of record on July 17, 2015.

Commenting on the quarterly and special dividend, Ms. Cochran said, "We remain committed to a balanced approach to capital allocation, through appropriate reinvestment in our business, a competitive regular quarterly dividend, and now the payment of a special dividend. The decision to increase the quarterly dividend and declare a special dividend reflects our Board's ongoing evaluation of our financial performance, capital investment and liquidity needs, and ability to deliver total shareholder return."

Fiscal 2015 Outlook

Based upon year-to-date financial performance, recent trends, and current estimates, the Company raised its full-year earnings guidance. For fiscal 2015, the Company now expects to report adjusted earnings per diluted share of between $6.60 and $6.70, which implies EPS for the fourth quarter of between $1.75 and $1.85. The Company expects total revenue for the year between $2.8 billion and $2.85 billion and an adjusted operating income margin between 8.5% and 9.0% of total revenue. The revenue projection for fiscal 2015 reflects the expected opening of six new Cracker Barrel stores over the course of the year, projected increases in comparable store restaurant sales of between 4.5% and 5.0%, and comparable store retail sales of between 3.5% and 4.0%. The Company's projections are based upon expected food commodity inflation of approximately 3.0% for the year, and approximately flat for the fourth quarter. The Company expects annual depreciation expense between $71 million and $73 million; net interest expense of approximately $17 million; and an effective tax rate of between 31% and 32%. The Company expects capital expenditures for fiscal 2015 to be approximately $95 million.

Fiscal 2015 Third-Quarter Conference Call

As previously announced, the live broadcast of Cracker Barrel's quarterly conference call will be available to the public online at on June 2, 2015 beginning at 11:00 a.m. (Eastern Time). An online replay will be available at approximately 2:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) and continue through June 15, 2015.

About Cracker Barrel

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store provides a friendly home-away-from-home in its old country stores and restaurants. Guests are cared for like family while relaxing and enjoying real home-style food and shopping that's surprisingly unique, genuinely fun and reminiscent of America's country heritage…all at a fair price. The restaurants serve up delicious, home-style country food such as meatloaf and homemade chicken n' dumplins as well as our signature biscuits using an old family recipe. The authentic old country retail store is fun to shop and offers unique gifts and self-indulgences.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (Nasdaq: CBRL) was established in 1969 in Lebanon, Tenn. and operates 634 company-owned locations in 42 states. Every Cracker Barrel store is open seven days a week with hours Sunday through Thursday, 6 a.m. - 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 6 a.m. - 11 p.m. For more information, visit:


Except for specific historical information, certain of the matters discussed in this press release may express or imply projections of revenues or expenditures, statements of plans and objectives or future operations or statements of future economic performance. These, and similar statements are forward-looking statements concerning matters that involve risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual performance of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. and its subsidiaries to differ materially from those expressed or implied by this discussion. All forward-looking information is subject to completion of our financial procedures for Q3 FY 2015 and is provided pursuant to the safe harbor established under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and should be evaluated in the context of these factors. Forward-looking statements generally can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "trends," "assumptions," "target," "guidance," "outlook," "opportunity," "future," "plans," "goals," "objectives," "expectations," "near-term," "long-term," "projection," "may," "will," "would," "could," "expect," "intend," "estimate," "anticipate," "believe," "potential," "regular," "should," "projects," "forecasts," or "continue" (or the negative or other derivatives of each of these terms) or similar terminology and include the expected effects of operational improvement initiatives, such as new menu items and retail offerings. Factors which could materially affect actual results include, but are not limited to: the effects of uncertain consumer confidence, higher costs for energy, general or regional economic weakness, weather on sales and customer travel, discretionary income or personal expenditure activity of our customers; our ability to identify, acquire and sell successful new lines of retail merchandise and new menu items at our restaurants; our ability to sustain or the effects of plans intended to improve operational or marketing execution and performance; changes in or implementation of additional governmental or regulatory rules, regulations and interpretations affecting tax, wage and hour matters, health and safety, pensions, insurance or other undeterminable areas; the effects of plans intended to promote or protect our brands and products; commodity price increases; the ability of and cost to us to recruit, train, and retain qualified hourly and management employees in an escalating wage environment; the effects of increased competition at our locations on sales and on labor recruiting, cost, and retention; workers' compensation, group health and utility price changes; consumer behavior based on negative publicity or concerns over nutritional or safety aspects of our food or products or those of the restaurant industry in general, including concerns about pandemics, as well as the possible effects of such events on the price or availability of ingredients used in our restaurants; the effects of our substantial indebtedness and associated restrictions on our financial and operating flexibility and ability to execute or pursue our operating plans and objectives; changes in interest rates or capital market conditions affecting our financing costs and ability to refinance all or portions of our indebtedness; the effects of business trends on the outlook for individual restaurant locations and the effect on the carrying value of those locations; our ability to retain key personnel; the availability and cost of suitable sites for restaurant development and our ability to identify those sites; changes in land, building materials and construction costs; the actual results of pending, future or threatened litigation or governmental investigations and the costs and effects of negative publicity associated with these activities; practical or psychological effects of natural disasters or terrorist acts or war and military or government responses; disruptions to our restaurant or retail supply chain; changes in foreign exchange rates affecting our future retail inventory purchases; implementation of new or changes in interpretation of existing accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America ("GAAP"); and other factors described from time to time in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, press releases, and other communications. Any forward-looking statement made by us herein, or elsewhere, speaks only as of the date on which made. We expressly disclaim any intent, obligation or undertaking to update or revise any forward-looking statements made herein to reflect any change in our expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statements are based.


(In thousands, except share and per share amounts, percentages and ratios)

Third Quarter Ended Nine Months Ended
        Percentage         Percentage
5/1/15 5/2/14 Change 5/1/15 5/2/14 Change
Total revenue $683,705 $643,298 6% $2,123,099 $1,990,930 7%

Cost of goods sold (exclusive of depreciation and rent)

216,142 201,507 7 700,592 650,451 8
Labor and other related expenses 246,805 242,977 2 740,806 718,466 3
Other store operating expenses 126,711 121,060 5 390,609 374,501 4
Store operating income 94,047 77,754 21 291,092 247,512 18
General and administrative expenses 38,570 32,541 19 108,952 99,356 10
Operating income 55,477 45,213 23 182,140 148,156 23
Interest expense 4,030 4,327 (7) 13,138 13,205 (1)
Pretax income 51,447 40,886 26 169,002 134,951 25
Provision for income taxes 16,130 12,158 33 52,498 42,008 25
Net income $35,317 $28,728 23 $116,504 $92,943 25
Earnings per share - Basic: $1.48 $1.21 22 $4.87 $3.90 25
Earnings per share - Diluted: $1.47 $1.20 23 $4.85 $3.88 25
Weighted average shares:
Basic 23,937,844 23,820,309 0 23,904,945 23,816,841 0
Diluted 24,066,061 23,978,474 0 24,033,296 23,958,058 0

Ratio Analysis

Total revenue:
Restaurant 81.5% 81.4% 79.2% 79.1%
Retail 18.5 18.6 20.8 20.9
Total revenue 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Cost of goods sold (exclusive of depreciation and rent) 31.6 31.3 33.0 32.7
Labor and other related expenses 36.1 37.8 34.9 36.1
Other store operating expenses 18.5 18.8 18.4 18.8
Store operating income 13.8 12.1 13.7 12.4
General and administrative expenses 5.7 5.1 5.1 5.0
Operating income 8.1 7.0 8.6 7.4
Interest expense 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6
Pretax income 7.5 6.4 8.0 6.8
Provision for income taxes 2.3 1.9 2.5 2.1
Net income


4.5% 5.5% 4.7%

(Unaudited and in thousands, except share amounts)

5/1/15 5/2/14
Cash and cash equivalents $202,054 $88,239
Accounts receivable 25,858 16,402
Income tax receivable 8,269 3,570
Inventory 136,405 147,378
Prepaid expenses 13,826 13,148
Deferred income taxes 4,964 4,339
Property and equipment, net 1,042,898 1,034,834
Other long-term assets 66,793 60,625
Total assets $1,501,067 $1,368,535
Liabilities and Shareholders' Equity
Accounts payable $89,327 $71,971
Other current liabilities 226,602 240,024
Long-term debt 400,000 381,250
Interest rate swap liability 9,633 7,908
Other long-term obligations 130,083 122,223
Deferred income taxes 61,350 57,956
Shareholders' equity, net 584,072 487,203
Total liabilities and shareholders' equity $1,501,067 $1,368,535
Common shares issued and outstanding 23,949,084 23,820,500

(Unaudited and in thousands)

Nine Months Ended
5/1/15       5/2/14
Cash flows from operating activities:
Net income $116,504 $92,943
Depreciation and amortization 53,928 50,601
Loss on disposition of property and equipment 5,413 3,159
Share-based compensation, net of excess tax benefit 7,571 5,520
Decrease (increase) in inventories 29,021 (691)
(Decrease) in accounts payable (9,150) (38,666)
Net changes in other assets and liabilities 13,393 (11,669)

Net cash provided by operating activities

216,680 101,197
Cash flows from investing activities:
Purchase of property and equipment, net of insurance recoveries (60,055) (62,337)
Proceeds from sale of property and equipment 1,563 1,572
Net cash used in investing activities (58,492) (60,765)
Cash flows from financing activities:
Net payments for credit facilities and other long-term obligations 0 (1)
(Taxes withheld) from exercise of share-based compensation awards, net (3,432) (8,430)
Excess tax benefit from share-based compensation 3,224 612
Purchases and retirement of common stock 0 (12,473)
Deferred financing costs (3,537) 0
Dividends on common stock (71,750) (53,619)
Net cash used in financing activities (75,495) (73,911)
Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents 82,693 (33,479)
Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period 119,361 121,718
Cash and cash equivalents, end of period $202,054 $88,239

Supplemental Information

Third Quarter Ended Nine Months Ended
5/1/15     5/2/14 5/1/15   5/2/14
Units in operation:
Open at beginning of period 634 625 631 624
Opened during period 0 2 3 3
Open at end of period 634 627 634 627
Total revenue: (In thousands)
Restaurant $557,098 $523,557 $1,681,363 $1,573,895
Retail 126,607 119,741 441,736 417,035
Total revenue $683,705 $643,298 $2,123,099 $1,990,930
Cost of goods sold: (In thousands)
Restaurant $153,351 $141,757 $470,511 $432,735
Retail 62,791 59,750 230,081 217,716
Total cost of goods sold $216,142 $201,507 $700,592 $650,451
Average unit volume: (In thousands)
Restaurant $878.7 $836.5 $2,654.1 $2,517.9
Retail 199.7 191.3 697.3 667.2
Total $1,078.4 $1,027.8 $3,351.4 $3,185.1

Operating weeks:






Q3 2015 vs. Q3 2014


9 mo. 2015 vs. 9 mo. 2014

Comparable store sales period to period increase:
Restaurant 5.2%


Retail 4.5%


Number of locations in comparable store base 624




Reconciliation of GAAP basis operating

results to adjusted non-GAAP operating results

(Unaudited and in thousands)


In the accompanying press release the company makes reference to As Adjusted general and administrative expenses, operating income, provision for taxes and net income per share before the impact of the Fair Labor Standards Act litigation, the retroactive restatement of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit and proxy contest expenses. The company believes that excluding these items and their related tax effects from its financial results reflects operating results that are more indicative of the Company's ongoing operating performance while improving comparability to prior periods, and, as such may provide investors with an enhanced understanding of the Company's past financial performance and prospects for the future. This information is not intended to be considered in isolation or as a substitute for operating income or earnings per share information prepared in accordance with GAAP.

Third Quarter ended May 1, 2015 Third Quarter ended May 2, 2014
As Reported Adjust As Adjusted As Reported Adjust As Adjusted
(1) (3)
Store operating income 94,047 - 94,047 77,754 - 77,754
General and administrative expenses   38,570       (769 )       37,801   32,541       (1,113 )       31,428
Operating income 55,477 769 56,246 45,213 1,113 46,326
Interest Expense   4,030       -         4,030   4,327       -         4,327
Pretax income 51,447 769 52,216 40,886 1,113 41,999
Provision for income taxes   16,130       239         16,369   12,158       346         12,504
Net income $ 35,317     $ 530       $ 35,847 $ 28,728     $ 767       $ 29,495
Earning per share - Basic $ 1.48 $ 0.02 $ 1.50 $ 1.21 $ 0.03 $ 1.24
Earning per share - Diluted $ 1.47 $ 0.02 $ 1.49 $ 1.20 $ 0.03 $ 1.23
Nine months ended May 1, 2015 Nine months ended May 2, 2014
As Reported Adjust As Adjusted As Reported Adjust As Adjusted
(1), (2) (3)
Store operating income 291,092 - 291,092 247,512 - 247,512
General and administrative expenses   108,952       (2,919 )       106,033   99,356       (4,313 )       95,043
Operating income 182,140 2,919 185,059 148,156 4,313 152,469
Interest Expense   13,138       -         13,138   13,205       -         13,205
Pretax income 169,002 2,919 171,921 134,951 4,313 139,264
Provision for income taxes   52,498       3,226         55,724   42,008       1,343         43,351
Net income $ 116,504     $ (307 )     $ 116,197 $ 92,943     $ 2,970       $ 95,913
Earning per share - Basic $ 4.87 $ (0.01 ) $ 4.86 $ 3.90 $ 0.12 $ 4.02
Earning per share - Diluted $ 4.85 $ (0.01 ) $ 4.84 $ 3.88 $ 0.12 $ 4.00
(1) Accrued liability and tax effects related to the settlement of the Fair Labor Standards Act litigation.
(2) Provision for taxes adjusted to exclude the $2.3 million prior year favorable effect of the retroactive reinstatement of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit.
(3) Charges and tax effects of the special meeting of shareholders or proxy contest at the annual shareholders meeting.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc.
Lawrence E. Hyatt, 615-235-4432
Janella Escobar, 615-235-4618

Source: Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc.

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