What Chipotle Stock's 50-for-1 Split Means for Investors

Chipotle stock is sizzling Wednesday after the burrito chain announced a 50-for-1 stock split.

The outside of a Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant in New York
(Image credit: Angus Mordant/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) has given long-term investors plenty to cheer about. Over the past 15 years, Chipotle stock has averaged an annual return of 28.9%, easily outpacing the S&P 500's 15.7% gain. And the burrito chain's latest announcement could encourage a new crop of folks to look CMG's way.

After Tuesday's close, Chipotle said its board of directors approved a massive 50-for-1 stock split. Pending shareholder approval, the split will go into effect after the market closes on Tuesday, June 25, and CMG stock will start trading on a post-split basis on Wednesday, June 26.

This marks the first stock split for CMG and one of the biggest in the history of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The split "will make our stock more accessible to employees as well as a broader range of investors," Jack Hartung, chief financial officer of Chipotle, said in a press release. "This split comes at a time when our stock is experiencing an all-time high driven by record revenues, profits, and growth."

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Indeed, in its most recent earnings report, Chipotle disclosed 14.3% year-over-year revenue growth in 2023, to a record $9.9 billion. Earnings surged 36.9% to $44.86 per share. For fiscal 2024, analysts expect revenue to jump 13.8% and earnings per share to rise by 19%.

What does the Chipotle stock split mean?

As for Chipotle's stock split, it won't change anything about the company's fundamentals or market valuation. Rather, a stock split is similar to making change. In CMG's case, it will be equivalent to breaking a $50 bill into 50 $1 bills.

Based on current levels, the 50-for-1 stock split will bring shares from roughly $3,000 apiece to just under $60. This should make it much more attractive for retail investors, as well as Chipotle employees participating in the company's stock purchase plan, who are unable to buy CMG stock at its four-figure share price.

Walmart (WMT) underwent a similar stock split recently. The retailer cited the importance of keeping its "share price in a range where purchasing whole shares, rather than fractions, was accessible to all of our associates" as the reason behind its 3-for-1 stock split.

Wall Street says Chipotle stock's still a buy

After the news, Deutsche Bank analyst Lauren Silberman reiterated her Buy rating on Chipotle stock. "CMG has been among the best-performing restaurant stocks and we expect fundamental strength to continue to drive outperformance," Silberman writes in a note to clients.

The analyst adds that she has high conviction in Chipotle's near- and long-term growth outlooks. She believes "a premium multiple is warranted, noting there is scarcity value for a high-quality U.S. company with a clean balance sheet, strong fundamentals and potential upside to numbers."

Silberman is hardly alone in her bullish outlook toward the consumer discretionary stock. Of the 32 analysts covering Chipotle stock tracked by S&P Global Market Intelligence, 20 say it's a Strong Buy, two have it at Buy, nine rate it a Hold and one has it at Strong Sell. This works out to a consensus Buy rating and with high conviction.

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Karee Venema
Senior Investing Editor, Kiplinger.com

With over a decade of experience writing about the stock market, Karee Venema is the senior investing editor at Kiplinger.com. She joined the publication in April 2021 after 10 years of working as an investing writer and columnist at Schaeffer's Investment Research. In her previous role, Karee focused primarily on options trading, as well as technical, fundamental and sentiment analysis.