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Buffalo Wild Wings Rises as Profit Tops Analysts’ Estimates

By Leslie Patton
February 07, 2012 7:47 PM EST

Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., the restaurant chain with more than 800 locations, rose in extended trading after reporting a 34 percent increase in fourth-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates.

The shares jumped 16 percent to $81.40 at 7:41 p.m. in New York after closing regular trading at $70.19. Buffalo Wild Wings gained 54 percent last year.

Net income rose to $13.6 million, or 73 cents a share, from $10.2 million, or 55 cents, a year earlier, the Minneapolis- based company said today in a statement. Analysts projected 67 cents, the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Buffalo Wild Wings, which plans to have 900 restaurants by the end of this year, has sought to attract consumers with flavored wings, shareable appetizers and draft beer. Customers ate a record 7.7 million wings on Super Bowl Sunday this year, Chief Executive Officer Sally Smith said today on an earnings call with analysts and investors.

Smith said the company will expand to 1,500 locations in five to seven years and may seek to acquire other restaurant brands to help fuel growth.

“It is very early and something that we started talking about probably mid-year last year as we looked at our growth,” Smith said today in a telephone interview. Buffalo Wild Wings would most likely be “interested in a small, emerging chain” in the casual-dining or fast-casual industry, she said.

An acquisition would probably be funded with a combination of debt and cash “depending on the size of the chain that we’re looking at,” she said.

Sales at company-owned stores open at least 15 months rose 8.9 percent in the quarter. Sales at franchised locations increased 5.9 percent.

Revenue advanced 34 percent to $220.5 million in the quarter ended Dec. 25. Analysts projected $210.6 million, on average. The company reiterated its forecast for full-year profit growth of 20 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Leslie Patton in Chicago at lpatton5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net

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