Panera second-quarter profit rises 28%

by Eric Schroeder
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ST. LOUIS — Lower wheat costs and category management initiatives contributed to a 28% gain in earnings at Panera Bread Co. during the second quarter ended June 30.

For quarter, the company had net income of $20,029,000, equal to 65c per share on the common stock, up from income of $15,706,000, or 52c per share, during the same quarter of the previous year. Revenue for the quarter was $330,794,000, up 3% from $320,868,000 during the same quarter of the previous year.

"We are very pleased to have delivered another quarter of solid performance," said Ron Shaich, chairman and chief executive officer. "We have been highly focused on building competitive advantage and growing transactions in the face of this recession. Thus, we are quite gratified to see our initiatives generating sequentially better company-owned comparable bakery-cafe sales growth each period for the last four periods. In fact, we believe that the strong comparable bakery-cafe sales growth we have produced in the company-owned cafes since the rollout of our recent salad celebration in early June is an indication of the success of our efforts."

Panera and its franchisees opened 14 new bakery-cafes during the second quarter, bringing the total number of system-wide bakery-cafes to 1,345.

The company, which earlier projected its earnings per share target for the full year at $2.55 to $2.71 per share, tightened the range to $2.60 to $2.68.

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