Wheat costs, charges eat into Panera’s 1st-Q profit

RICHMOND HEIGHTS Mo. Escalating wheat costs, along with higher labor and interest expenses, hurt Panera Bread Co.'s profits for its first quarter ended March 25, the company reported.

Earnings fell 17 percent to $12.4 million, or 41 cents per share, from $15 million or 47 cents per share in the prior-year quarter. Quarterly revenue rose 27 percent to $305 million, from $239.7 million a year ago.

Panera's earnings beat an average estimate by analysts polled b

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