GOLDMAN: Chipotle's 'It Factor' Is Fading

In a new report based on a quarterly survey of 2000 U.S. consumers, Goldman Sachs retail analysts Michael Kelter, Ivan Holman, and Harsh Aneja note that the percentage of respondents aware of Chipotle who say they have visited in the past year came down in the third quarter.

Kelter, Holman, and Aneja provide a bit more detail in the report:

CMG shows strength — CMG saw brand score increases in 3Q with improvements on 4 of 5 metrics . We also note that the company has strong value scores, in spite of high prices relative to other burritos, a reflection of the strength of the brand. This said, we do note that conversion scores did come down this quarter (the 5th metric), which may suggest softness around the edges. This metric measures the per cent of consumers aware of the brand who report having visited in the past year.

More on CMG’s uneven showing — Another part of survey asks consumers where they are increasing or decreasing their visitation at various concepts — something that differs from conversion which simply asks whether they have visited at all. On this metric CMG’s results are mixed in that there have been consistent increases in both those who report going more and less often (as opposed to the same amount). About 8% of consumers say they are going to CMG more often vs. 5% two years ago, while 14% of consumers who say they are going less often, up from 10% two years ago.

The chart below shows Chipotle shares, which have gone nowhere but up over the past year.

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