business

Shake Shack says COVID is hitting its NYC stores the hardest

Shake Shack eked out a surprise sales increase in the fourth quarter — but it got no help from the Big Apple.

The upscale burger chain said its fourth-quarter sales rose 4.6 percent to $152.5 million despite the continued drag from the pandemic — a better-than-expected result that sent its shares surging 6 percent in early trades.

Nevertheless, comparable-store sales at Shake Shack’s Manhattan eateries — including the outdoor kiosk in Madison Square Park that founder Danny Meyer used to launch the chain in 2004 — were down a whopping 49 percent from the same period a year ago amid renewed lockdowns.

That’s compared with a 31-percent drop in other urban areas and flat comparable-store sales at suburban locations. Still, the 49 percent decline is an improvement over the third quarter when sales at its Manhattan stores fell by 60 percent.

As The Post has previously reported, other retail chains have called out their Manhattan stores as laggards. The licensed hat chain Lids said its stores in neighboring New Jersey and Pennsylvania were bounding back more quickly this summer than its locations in New York City.

The loss of office workers and many residents has been a doubly whammy for the city as many New Yorkers ride out the pandemic elsewhere.

Nearly one in seven major chains have closed stores in New York City during the pandemic, according to the Center for an Urban Future’s annual “State of the Chains” report released in December.

The number of chain store locations in the city declined by a record 13.3 percent, with 49 of 351 Starbucks locations shuttered, 25 of 34 Mac Cosmetics and 5 of 25 Shake Shacks, according to the report.

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