Panera Bread Co. reported Thursday a 23-percent increase in fourth quarter profit, as sales surged on increased traffic and higher menu prices.
For the quarter ended Dec. 28, Panera booked earnings of $37 million, or $1.21 per share, compared with year-earlier earnings of $30 million, or 95 cents a share. Total revenue rose 17 percent to $428.2 million. Panera owns or franchises 1,453 bakery-cafes. Its systemwide same-store sales increased 5.8 percent for the fourth quarter.