Cramer says wait to buy Sweetgreen despite stock’s fall, ‘you can afford to take your time’

CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Wednesday he would hold off on buying any shares of Sweetgreen, the salad chain that debuted on the New York Stock Exchange last month.

Sweetgreen pulled back from its first-day peak of $56.20 per share, closing Wednesday at $33 apiece. However, the “Mad Money” host said the company’s valuation is still too rich at this point, even though he acknowledged he likes Sweetgreen’s focus on healthy food and its growth trajectory.

“If you really like this one, I think you can afford to take your time because this might not be the best moment to bet on a nascent regional-to-national restaurant growth story,” Cramer said. “I’m a huge fan of the concept, I just don’t like the price. … This one could be a lot more attractive and a lot less risky if it goes to lower levels.”

A worker wears a Sweetgreen Inc. hat while preparing food inside the company’s restaurant in Boston, Massachusetts.

Adam Glanzman | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Cramer also raised concerns about a piece of Sweetgreen’s financial story, suggesting it makes owning the stock right now even more challenging given the kinds of names in vogue on Wall Street. In particular, Sweetgreen is unprofitable, even on an adjusted EBITDA basis, Cramer said, describing that as a bit unusual for a restaurant company going public.

“That makes this one much harder to own in a market that’s suddenly a lot more skeptical about ultra long-term growth stories and doesn’t like concept stocks,” Cramer said.

At the same time, Cramer spoke favorably about the company’s pre-pandemic same-store sales growth of 15% in 2019 and the fact it only has locations in 13 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. That means there’s plenty of room for growth ahead, he said.

“I’ve got no problem with hunting for the next big thing in the regional restaurant space. … But there are a lot of things that can go wrong along the way, which is why you need to do your due diligence with these super-speculative stories,” he said.

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