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Cracker Barrel Doing Well Despite Industry Headwinds

publication date: Dec 4, 2019
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Image Source: 2019 Annual Shareholder Meeting, November 21. 

First-quarter fiscal 2020 results at Cracker Barrel were solid, but the fiscal year is still early, and the restaurant industry backdrop for traffic isn’t as strong as it once was. That said, we expect Cracker Barrel to keep raising menu prices to drive strong comparable store sales performance, which should help the firm achieve operating-margin guidance of 9% during the fiscal year, propelling copious free cash flow generation and supporting capital-return efforts. That said, we’ll be watching traffic performance and cost pressures closely in the coming quarters, but for now, our discounted cash-flow derived fair value estimate of $168 per share stands, reflecting about 17.5x the high end of the firm’s adjusted earnings per share target during fiscal 2020. Cracker Barrel’s Dividend Cushion ratio remains a very healthy 1.5x. Shares yield 3.4% at the time of this writing, and this excludes any special dividends that shareholders have grown accustomed to during the past five years.

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