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Panera Bread restaurant

Panera increases 2016 guidance after strong 1Q

Bakery-café chain’s same-store sales grow 4.7 percent during the quarter

Panera Bread Co. profit increased 10.1 percent in the first quarter ended March 29, with systemwide same-store sales rising 4.7 percent, the company reported Tuesday.

“Our growth in same-store sales and transactions was the best we generated in four years, and we outperformed the BlackBox all-industry composite by the widest margin we have ever recorded,” Ron Shaich, Panera CEO and chairman, said in a statement.

The St. Louis-based bakery-café operator reported profit of $35.1 million, or $1.45 per share, rising from $31.9 million, or $1.20 per share, in the same period a year ago. Revenue increased 5.6 percent, to $685.2 million, from $648.5 million in the prior-year quarter.

Same-store sales at company-owned bakery-cafés rose 6.2 percent, and same-store sales at franchised units increased 3.3 percent in the quarter, Panera said. Company-owned restaurants saw transaction growth of 2.4 percent and check growth of 3.8 percent.

Shaich said earnings per share grew by 21 percent, not excluding one-time items.

“These results make us ever more confident in our strategy,” Shaich said. “As a result, today we are raising our full-year 2016 targets for same-store sales growth and earnings per share.”

Panera raised its guidance for fiscal 2016 same-store sales growth at company-owned cafés to a range of 4 percent to 5 percent, from 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent. It also raised its fiscal year earnings per share target to $6.50 to $6.70, from earlier guidance of $6.33 to $6.52 a share.

“As our initiatives roll out and mature, we can clearly see the potential that they represent for sustained earnings expansion at Panera,” Shaich said.

So-called Panera 2.0 initiatives have extended to more than 400 units and include everything from ordering kiosks, carryout areas and online technology.

During the first quarter, Panera opened 17 new bakery-cafés, and franchisees opened 13 new units, bringing the systemwide total to 1,997 units as of March 29.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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