NEW YORK - Chipotle (CMG) shares continued to fall Monday as the chain known for its burritos and bowls faces the first decline in a key sales figure after an outbreak of E. coli linked to its restaurants.
The chain known for touting its quality ingredients said Friday that it expects sales to drop between 8 percent and 11 percent at established locations for the fourth quarter if current trends continue. That would mark the first time the figure fell since Chipotle went public in 2006.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Chipotle said that sales have been "extremely volatile" in recent weeks and have plummeted by as much as 22 percent as a result of the bad publicity generated by the outbreak.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had said earlier Friday that the outbreak widened and has now sickened 52 people in nine states. It has not yet identified the ingredient that made people sick.
Chipotle, based in Denver, says whatever the likely ingredient was is out of its restaurants by now. It says it is adopting stricter food safety standards.
Chipotle's stock was down 6 percent to $528 in morning trading Monday.