Panera ends year on strong note; sets guidance for '07

by Staff
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ST. LOUIS — Year-end net income at Panera Bread Co. totaled $58,849,000, equal to $1.88 per share on the common stock. The result represented an increase of 12% over net income of $52,183,000, or $1.69, in 2005.

Net revenue for the year ended Dec. 26 rose 30%, totaling $828,971,000, compared with net revenue of $640,275,000 in the previous year.

Net income for the 13-week quarter ended Dec. 26 totaled $18,906,000, equal to 60c per share on the common stock, an increase of 17% from $16,162,000, or 52c, during the 12-week fourth quarter of 2005.

Net revenue for the fourth quarter was $232,912,000, up 34% from $173,329,000 in the same period last year.

Looking ahead to 2007, the company set an earnings per diluted share target for the first quarter of 47c to 50c, an increase of 6% at the higher end when compared to 2006 results. The company also set an earnings per diluted share target for fiscal year 2007 of $2.26 to $2.34, representing growth of 23% to 27% over its 2006 e.p.s.

"We expect our earnings growth to strengthen markedly as the year progresses into the second quarter and third quarter," said Ron Shaich, chairman and chief executive officer of Panera Bread. "Tactically 2007 will be a year in which we focus on further differentiation to maintain our competitive advantage, aggressive development while protecting our industry leading average weekly sales, and 2% to 4% comps, all the while generating leverage from our fresh dough system and our G&A.

"Taken as a whole, 2007 will be yet another strong year for Panera and one in which the Company will generate earnings growth in the low-to-mid twenties percent."

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