Stock Analysts Believe That Chipotle Sales Will Be Down This Quarter For Some Reason

Are people heading somewhere other than Chipotle when a burrito craving strikes them? Stock analysts think so: while the company won’t release their fourth-quarter sales results for another few months, the after-effects of what is now a six-state E. coli outbreak will keep at least some customers out of restaurants for the immediate future. Especially if the chain and public health officials aren’t able to figure out what caused the outbreak.

The E. Coli infections at first appeared to be a regionally-limited phenomenon, which is why all of the restaurants in the region were closed. A logical guess was that the pathogen hitched a ride into customers’ intestines on some kind of fresh produce distributed in restaurants in the Pacific Northwest.

Then patients with the same strain of E. coli turned up in other parts of the country, reporting that they had visited Chipotle restaurants in their respective hometowns, not during a vacation in Seattle. What caused their illnesses? Fear could keep at least some of the chain’s customers away until they find the answer.

The CDC, for its part, isn’t warning people to avoid Chipotle: since the company doesn’t keep ingredients around for long, the source of the contamination is probably gone by now. They are, however, warning people to visit their health care provider if they experience bloody diarrhea or other typical E. coli symptoms.

The company’s stock has fallen 16% since the original recall news broke, but analysts sound mostly optimistic as long as investors see the stock as something to hold on to long-term.

E.coli outbreak looks set to infect Chipotle’s same-outlet sales

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