Cracker Barrel Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year Fiscal 2015 Results and Provides Guidance for Fiscal 2016

09/16/2015

September 16, 2015

Positive Comparable Store Sales and Traffic in Fourth Quarter and Full Fiscal Year
Fourth Quarter Operating Income and Diluted EPS Increased 21%

LEBANON, Tenn. - (BUSINESS WIRE) - Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. ("Cracker Barrel" or the "Company") (Nasdaq: CBRL) today reported its financial results for the fourth quarter and for the fiscal year ended July 31, 2015. The Company also provided guidance for its 2016 fiscal year and first quarter:

Fourth Quarter Fiscal 2015 Highlights

  • Compared to the prior year fourth quarter, comparable store traffic increased 0.8%; comparable store restaurant sales increased 3.8%; comparable store retail sales increased 0.6%; and operating income as a percent of total revenue increased 140 basis points to 10.1%.
  • Fifteenth consecutive quarter of outperformance of the Knapp-Track™ casual-dining index.
  • Earnings per diluted share were $1.97 compared to diluted EPS of $1.63 in the prior year quarter.

Full Year Fiscal 2015 Highlights

  • Comparable store traffic increased 2.1%, comparable store restaurant sales increased 5.1% and comparable store retail sales increased 3.6%.
  • On a GAAP basis, earnings per diluted share were $6.82 compared to $5.51 in the prior year. Adjusted for the previously disclosed litigation settlement and the retroactive reinstatement of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit in the current year, and proxy contest expenses in the prior year, fiscal 2015 adjusted earnings per diluted share were $6.82, a 21.1% increase over adjusted earnings per diluted share of $5.63 in the prior year. (See non-GAAP reconciliation below.)
  • On a GAAP basis, operating income was 9.0% of total revenue, compared to 7.8% in fiscal 2014. On an adjusted basis, operating income was 9.1% of total revenue, compared with 7.9% in fiscal 2014.
  • Including a special dividend, the Company declared dividend payments to its shareholders of approximately $170 million during the fiscal year.

Commenting on the fourth quarter and full fiscal year results, Cracker Barrel President and Chief Executive Officer Sandra B. Cochran said, "I am very pleased with our strong fiscal 2015 performance which reflects the strength of the differentiated Cracker Barrel brand and our ability to execute against our strategic initiatives to drive significant increases in comparable store sales and a 120 basis point improvement in operating income."

Fourth-Quarter Fiscal 2015 Results

Revenue

The Company reported total revenue of $719.2 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015, representing an increase of 3.8% over the fourth quarter of the prior year. Comparable store restaurant sales increased 3.8%, including a 3.0% increase in average check and a 0.8% increase in store traffic. The average menu price increase for the quarter was approximately 2.7%. Comparable store retail sales were up 0.6% for the quarter. The Company opened three new Cracker Barrel stores during the quarter, for a total of six new store openings during the fiscal year.

Comparable store restaurant traffic, average check and comparable store restaurant sales and retail sales for the fiscal months of May, June and July and the fourth quarter were as follows:

  May June July Fourth Quarter
Comparable restaurant traffic 1.4% 1.2% 0.1% 0.8%
Average Check 3.4% 3.3% 2.4% 3.0%
Comparable restaurant sales 4.8% 4.5% 2.5% 3.8%
Comparable retail sales 3.4% 0.1% -1.2% 0.6%

Operating Income

Operating income in the fourth quarter was $72.7 million, or 10.1% of total revenue. Operating income in the prior year quarter was 8.7% of total revenue. As a percentage of total revenue, reductions in cost of goods sold, labor and related expenses, and store operating expenses were partially offset by an increase in general and administrative expenses.

Fiscal 2015 Results

The Company reported total revenue of $2.84 billion for the fiscal year, representing an increase of 5.9% over the prior year. Comparable store restaurant sales increased 5.1% including a 3.0% increase in average check and a 2.1% increase in store traffic. Comparable store retail sales were up 3.6% for the fiscal year.

Operating income for fiscal 2015 was $254.9 million, or 9.0% of sales compared to $208.4 million or 7.8% of sales in the prior year. Adjusted operating income for the year was $258.4 million, or 9.1% of sales. In comparison, adjusted operating income in the prior fiscal year was $212.7 million, or 7.9% of sales.

GAAP net income was $163.9 million, or $6.82 per diluted share, compared to $132.1 million or $5.51 per diluted share in the prior year. Adjusted net income was $164.0 million, or $6.82 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net income of $135.1 million, or $5.63 per diluted share in the prior year, representing a year-over-year increase in adjusted EPS of 21.1%.

Fiscal 2016 Outlook

For fiscal 2016, the Company expects total revenue of between $2.90 billion and $2.95 billion, and earnings per diluted share of between $7.15 and $7.30. The increased revenue projection for fiscal 2016 reflects the expected opening of seven or eight new Cracker Barrel stores, and projected increases in comparable store restaurant sales in a range of 2.5% to 3.5%, and comparable store retail sales in a range of 2.0% to 3.0%. The Company projects food commodity inflation in the range of 3.0% to 3.5% for the year, driven largely by expected increases in egg prices. The Company projects an operating income margin of approximately 9.0% of total revenue for fiscal 2016. The Company expects depreciation expense between $78 million and $79 million; net interest expense between $14 million and $15 million; and capital expenditures between $110 million and $120 million. The Company expects an effective tax rate for fiscal 2016 of between 32% and 33%.

The Company expects to report earnings per diluted share for the first quarter of 2016 of between $1.50 and $1.60. The Company reminds investors that its outlook for fiscal 2016 reflects a number of assumptions, many of which are outside the Company's control.

Retirement of Chief Financial Officer

The Company announced that its Chief Financial Officer, Lawrence E. Hyatt, plans to retire at the end of the 2016 fiscal year. Hyatt, who turns 61 next month, has been CFO since January 2011. He will participate in the search for his successor, and will assist with the transition.

Commenting on Hyatt's retirement, Ms. Cochran said, "During his five years as Cracker Barrel's CFO, Larry's financial and business leadership have been instrumental to our Company's success. While we will be sad to see him leave, all of us wish Larry and his family the best in his retirement."

Fiscal 2015 Fourth-Quarter Conference Call

As previously announced, the live broadcast of Cracker Barrel's quarterly conference call will be available to the public on-line at investor.crackerbarrel.com today beginning at 11:00 a.m. (ET). The on-line replay will be available at 2:00 p.m. (ET) and continue through September 30, 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 637 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: crackerbarrel.com.

CBRL-F

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 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.

CRACKER BARREL OLD COUNTRY STORE, INC.
CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED INCOME STATEMENT
(Unaudited)
(In thousands, except share and per share amounts, percentages and ratios)

Fourth Quarter Ended
7/31/14 8/1/14 Percent Change Cost of Goods Sold
(exclusive of depreciation and rent)
Total Revenue $719,185 $692,747 4% $223,579
Fiscal Year Ended
7/31/14 8/1/14 Percent Change
Total Revenue $2,842,284 $2,683,677 6%