Panera Bread Co. posted Tuesday a 25.7-percent increase in first-quarter profit, crediting a 6.3 percent gain in systemwide same-store sales.
The St. Louis, Mo.-based company reported net income of $41.2 million, or $1.40 per share, for the quarter ended March 27, up from $32.8 million, or $1.09 per share, in the same period last year. Revenue rose 18.1 percent, to $498.6 million from $422.1 million in the year-ago quarter.
"We are very pleased with both our strong 7.5-percent comparable store sales growth and 28-percent earnings growth in the first quarter, said Bill Moreton, Panera’s president and co-chief executive, in a prepared statement. "This marks the eighth out of the last nine quarters that our earnings have grown at a rate of 20 percent or greater.”
The company scheduled an earnings call with analysts for Wednesday morning.
Same-store sales increased 7.5 percent at company-owned units in the quarter and 5.2 percent at franchised stores. The same-store sales increases at company-owned restaurants included year-over-year transaction growth of 2.1 percent and average check increases of 5.4 percent. Average check growth included price increases of about 3.5 percent and a positive mix impact of about 1.9 percent, the company added.
During the first quarter, Panera opened seven new bakery-cafes, and its franchisees opened 15 new units, bringing its total to 1,562 stores as of March 27.
Average weekly sales for company-owned new units through the first quarter were $51,331 compared to $49,551 in the same period last year. Average weekly sales for new franchised stores were $47,982 compared to $45,532 in the year-earlier quarter.
In guidance, Moreton said Panera is targeting “full-year fiscal 2012 earnings slightly above the high end of [its] long-term range of 15 percent to 20 percent annual earnings growth.”
The company said it plans to open between 115 and 120 new units this fiscal year.
Panera owns and franchises bakery cafes under the Panera Bread, St. Louis Bread Co. and Paradise Bakery & Café banners.