Thursday, April 8, 2010

Kona Grill Beats Guidance

Kona Grill (KONA) reported much improved numbers for Q1 this morning. Revenue of $21.1M easily surpassed analyst estimates of $19.4M and the companies guidance of $19.4M to $20.4M. Considering the stock had risen from the $3 range to $4.35 it was apparent that analysts/investors were expecting this beat. As usual, analyst estimates basically went along with guidance even though it was obvious that the market had turned and middle to upper end restaurants should do much better this year.

It was encouraging to see that March comps were positive marking the first time in over 2 years of positive monthly comps. Most retailers had strong March numbers so this really isn't anything special from KONA, but a good sign nevertheless. It'll be interesting to see how they line up with the industry on comps for March.

The new CEO clearly came on board at the right time. Management always looks brilliant in a good economy. The verdict is still very much out, but at the very least they are now keeping up with the trends. Listen to some of the earnings calls in 2009 and you'll see that several hedge funds clearly thought KONA had the worst comps in the industry (Their comps were so bad I didn't see the need to confirm). This always provides an extra tailwind for new management. Those easy comps will provide extra fuel for the stock price in 2010 as well.

  • For the first quarter of 2010, restaurant sales increased 8.2% to $21.1 million from $19.5 million a year-ago, including a decline in comparable restaurant sales of approximately 2.5%. During its fourth quarter conference call, the Company had previously guided to restaurant sales of $19.4 million to $20.4 million for the first quarter.
  • The quarterly comparable restaurant sales decrease of 2.5% compares to a 9.6% decrease in the prior year period and an 8.1% decrease during the fourth quarter of 2009.
  • "During March, our comparable restaurant sales rose 3.6% and were positive for the first time since February 2008. We are cautiously optimistic that this momentum will continue throughout 2010 which will enable us to leverage costs and ultimately, improve our bottom line results," said Marc Buehler, President and Chief Executive Officer of Kona Grill.
KONA has had a great concept but poor execution since it went public several years backed. At a $40M market cap and with limited daily volume, its too small to invest in most portfolios though we do own some shares in the Growth Portfolio and a few client accounts. The stock could easily double if positive revenue trends continue as they've always had strong margins due to the large alcohol sales mix.

3 comments:

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Stonefoxcapital said...

Bought some stock at $4 in my personal account. Perfect pullback to the 20ema. Due to the small size and lack of volume, this stock is difficult to buy in bulk.