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Chipotle profits soar in first quarter

The fast expanding Chipotle Mexican Grill is the best performing restaurant stock in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.

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Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. reported that its first quarter earnings were up 35 percent. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Chipotle Mexican Grill outdid competitors again last quarter, reporting a net income jump of 35 percent.

The chain's profits were boosted by increased customer visits and last year's price increases.

Warm weather may also have helped boost sales.

Reuters reported that the burrito maker earned $62.7 million last quarter compared with $46.4 million last year.

According to Bloomberg, Chipotle has been unique among fast food chains in its growth with 32 restaurants opening last quarter and another 160 or so planned this year.

"Chipotle continues to deliver pretty much across the board,” Andy Cross, chief investment officer at the Motley Fool in Alexandria, Virginia, said in an interview with Bloomberg.

The company is taking “more and more market share from competitors given their quality of food,” he went on to say. 

The chain has carved itself a niche of serving healthy, locally grown fast-food and hormone-free meats - a strategy its competitors are beginning to emulate.

Chipotle has over 1200 outlets in the US, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Reuters reported that Chipotle's shares doubled on the first day of trading in 2006.

It ended this week at $430.78 per share.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business-tech/120421/chipotle-profits-soar-first-quarter