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Jamba Juice stock surges amid strong sales

The company said its same-store sales were the best in more than two years.

Jamba Juice stock surged more than 16% on Monday after the Frisco, Texas-based company said its same-store sales rose at their highest rate in more than two years.

The company’s same-store sales increased 5.3% in the quarter ended Jan. 2. Full year same-store sales declined 0.4%.

But Jamba said it closed 39 units last year. It opened another 50, giving it total unit count growth of 11 in 2017.

The 39 closed locations, the company said, had average unit volumes below $300,000—or less than half of the average unit volume for Jamba’s remaining store base.

Jamba operated 873 locations as of Jan. 2.

Dave Pace, Jamba’s CEO, said the company spent 2017 exiting underperforming businesses to improve profitability, while selling company-owned stores to franchisees in Chicago, Phoenix and Seattle.

“In 2018, we will continue to focus on improving the customer experience, driving transaction growth and increasing store-level margins,” Pace said in a statement. “With these improvements, we plan to expand our global store footprint and continue to enhance this iconic brand. We expect this to result in continued improved financial performance.”

Jamba delayed the filing of several earnings reports in the past year after the chain’s 2016 move from California to Texas. That move cost the company $7.4 million, and the loss of numerous corporate personnel has been cited for the earnings delays.

The delays put the company’s listing on the Nasdaq stock exchange in danger. Jamba said on Monday, however, that Nasdaq allowed it to keep its listing provided it submit its delayed earnings reports by March 15.

Monday’s report was in the form of a company update and did not include financials. Jamba did file its annual report for its 2016 fiscal year on Monday.

“The company is diligently working to satisfy the terms of [Nasdaq’s] decision and fully intends to take all steps necessary to regain compliance with the rule,” Jamba said in its update.

A listing on one of the major stock exchanges is considered key for publicly traded companies, which otherwise can struggle to generate investor interest and therefore have problems raising funds.

Going into trading on Monday, Jamba’s stock had fallen 23% over the past 12 months.

The company said that it started to test catering in 2017 and expanded that test in the second half of the year. The company plans to continue developing that test into new areas this year.

Jamba also hopes that its drive-thru format will help generate sales in the future. The company said its drive-thru locations generate better sales than its standard stores, and thus plans to increase drive-thru openings.

Last year, 10% of the 50 locations the chain opened had a drive-thru. This year, the company plans to have drive-thrus in 25% of its new locations.

Jamba also tested a new store design in five locations, with plans to test the new look on more stores in 2018.

Jamba is expecting same-store sales to be “positive” in 2018, with total revenue of between $68 million to $70 million for the full year.

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