Wall Street Watch Tuesday: Einstein's Bagel Dough is Rising

Einstein Bagels
Einstein Bagels

If Noah Einstein Restaurant Group (BAGL) ever decides to run ads attacking rival bagel shops, would that be considered a shmear campaign?

The restaurant operator that watches over the Einstein Bros. Bagels, Noah's New York Bagels, and Manhattan Bagel chains posted its fiscal third quarter results after Monday's market close.

Revenue climbed 1.9% to $105.5 million. That may not seem impressive, but net income did climb a hearty 20% to $3.4 million.

Noah Einstein's reach covers 797 bagel shops, and 450 of them are company owned.

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System-wide comparable store sales rose 0.2%. That's another modest top-line figure, but it does represent the sixth consecutive quarter of positive store-level sales growth for the company. The good news is that the average customer is spending 4.1% more as the expansion of premium beverages and compelling product mix are driving tickets higher. Then again, that's also the bad news. If the average customer is spending 4.1% more but store comps are only up 0.2% it means that fewer customers are actually stopping by the bagel shops.

To put things into perspective, Starbucks (SBUX) -- another quick-service chain that also derives its busiest traffic in the morning -- posted a 6% increase in comps during the same three months. A 5% increase in traffic and a 1% increase in average ticket helped get Starbucks to 6%.

We'll see if Noah Einstein can stretch that tenuous streak of positive comps to seven during the holiday quarter. If not the positive quarter trend count goes back to a bagel-shaped zero.

Other Things Worth Watching

• Eastman Kodak (EKDKQ) may live to snap another day. Sources were reporting late on Monday that the photo pioneer was nearing a financing deal that would arm Kodak with $793 million in loans to keep the company's bankruptcy reorganization hopes alive. Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January. A major stipulation in the deal, though, is that it needs to sell its patent portfolio for at least $500 million. We'll see how that goes. Like everything at Kodak, it's -- pardon the pun -- a developing story.

• NQ Mobile (NQ) is still a speedster. The global provider of mobile Internet services saw its revenue more than double in its latest quarter. Adjusted earnings climbed 16% to $0.16 a share. NQ Mobile's top- and bottom-line results exceeded analyst expectations. A whopping 141.9 million of the company's 241.6 million user accounts are in China, but the company is also growing its reach throughout Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Starbucks. The Motley Fool has written puts on Starbucks. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Starbucks and writing covered calls on Starbucks.