Cracker Barrel Grows Earnings, Lifts Dividends


Cracker Barrel Old Country Store ( CBRL ) has the recipe for happy investors. Earlier this week, the company delivered quarterly results above views and raised its dividend.

On Monday, the operator of home-style restaurants and retail stores reported fiscal Q3 earnings that grew 19% to $1.02 a share. Sales rose 5% to $640 million. The company said that comparable restaurant sales edged up 3.1%, while average checks grew 2.4%.

Cracker Barrel also raised its guidance on profit and revenue for its full-year fiscal 2013. The company has delivered higher earnings each year since 2007.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters see profit rising 5% to $4.86 a share for fiscal 2013. Growth is expected to pick up to 16% in fiscal 2014.

The company's strong results prompted it to raise its quarterly dividend by 50% to 75 cents a share. Its quarterly dividend has more than tripled since 2011. Cracker Barrel will dole out the dividend Aug. 5 to shareholders of record July 19.

At the new quarterly rate, Cracker Barrel pays $3 a share on an annual basis. This gives it a yield of about 3.1%, which is one of the highest among the 21 dividend-paying stocks in the highly ranked Retail-Restaurants group.

Other restaurant names such as Brinker International ( EAT ) and Starbucks ( SBUX ) have been featured in The Income Investor column in recent weeks.

Despite recent market volatility, Cracker Barrel has been on a tear. The stock has climbed for six straight weeks and looked to be on pace for a seventh straight weekly price gain.

The stock cleared a cup with handle in February and has yet to test its 10-week moving average.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

This article appears in: Personal Finance , Investing Ideas

Referenced Stocks: CBRL , EAT , SBUX

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