Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD)

Cold beer, hot wings, and sports are usually key ingredients for a good time–especially in places where there isn’t all that much to do.

Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc. (Nasdaq: BWLD) runs 567 sports bars/restaurants in 39 states. As expected, the company’s restaurants attract sports fans, a group that seems to be spending money despite recessionary pressures. The Minneapolis-based Buffalo Wild Wings, reported a 33 percent boost in Q4 revenue, outstripping the verage 18 percent gain of companies in the hotels, restaurants, and leisure industry. Net profit climbed 29 percent, and EPS have increased year over year in the past eight quarters. Same store sales (a key metric for companies in the restaurant industry) at company owned restaurants increased 8 percent in January, and sales at franchise locations were up 7 percent.

“At some point it seems battle-fatigue sets in and, as a protective conditioned-response, consumers look for an escape,” said Morgan Keegan analyst Bob Derrington in a note to investors. “Restaurant dining can provide that escape.”

Derrington stated that although traffic at restaurants may be down, compared to a year ago, same store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year, are holding up relatively well.

Consumers’ desire for comfort and an escape from the daily drudgery could result in continued growth for Buffalo Wild Wings. Shares of BWLD are up about 71 percent over the past 12 months. The company has an operating margin of about 9 percent, and had operating cash flow of $66 million, on revenue of $422 million (ttm).

Can 2009 be another break out year for BWLD?