Chipotle’s profit down sharply as it works on recovery

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NEW YORK (AP) — Chipotle reported a sharply lower quarterly profit from a year ago as it spends on promotional efforts to recover from a series of food scares.

Sales still haven’t bounced back, and were down 4.8 percent at established locations from a year ago. The Denver-based company reported its preliminary sales results last month.

For 2017, Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. repeated that it expects sales to rise in the “high single digits” at established locations as sales rebound. The company has said it plans a major advertising campaign in April, and that it might start offering a dessert. Already, its efforts have included promotions for free burritos and the rollout of chorizo, a new topping for its burritos.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, it earned $15.98 million, or 55 cents per share. That was a penny less than analysts expected, according to FactSet. A year ago, it earned $67.87 million, or $2.17 per share.

Total sales were $1.03 billion, short of the $1.04 billion Wall Street expected.

Its shares were down about 3 percent at $410.56 in after-hours trading.

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