Panera Bread: 7.0% Increase in Q4

    Industry News | January 15, 2001
    Panera Bread Company (Nasdaq: PNRA) today reported system-wide comparable bakery-cafe sales increased 7.0% for the fourth quarter (5.9% in company-owned bakery-cafes and 8.2% in franchised bakery-cafes). For the full year, system-wide comparables sales were up 9.1% (8.1% in company-owned bakery-cafes and 10.3% in franchised bakery-cafes). This marks the 20th consecutive quarter that Panera Bread (on a stand alone basis) has reported positive comparable company bakery-cafe sales.

    In the fourth quarter, 31 new Panera Bread bakery-cafes were opened (3 company-owned bakery-cafes and 28 franchised bakery-cafes). Total new bakery-cafe development activity for fiscal year 2000 was 81 new bakery-cafes (11 company-owned and 70 franchised bakery-cafes), which exceeded the system- wide target of 70 bakery-cafes. In the fourth quarter, the company closed two of the original Saint Louis Bread bakery-cafes and replaced them with a new prototype bakery-cafe, which is centrally located between the two closed locations. A charge of approximately $200,000 associated with this closing will be taken in the quarter. As of December 30, 2000, 260 Panera Bread bakery-cafes were operating in 28 states (90 company-owned and 170 franchised bakery-cafes). Additionally, as of December 30, 2000, with the addition of the recently announced new Area Developers, there were franchise commitments in place for the development of an additional 561 bakery-cafes.

    "In light of the severe weather in both our core Midwest and Northeast markets we are very pleased with the comparable bakery-cafe sales we produced, said Ron Shaich, chairman and chief executive officer. "Also, we are pleased that our new bakery-cafe development exceeded our targets, which we believe speaks to the confidence of our franchise community. Based on our comparable bakery-cafe sales in the fourth quarter, we are able to reiterate our fourth quarter earnings per share target of $0.16 despite the inclusion of the $200,000 charge for store relocation. For fiscal year 2001, we continue to target a 30% increase in earnings per share (to $0.66), the development of 80 new bakery-cafes (13 company-owned and 67 franchised bakery-cafes) and comparable bakery-cafe sales increases of 3%-4%.''

    The Company expects to release final fourth quarter and year-end results on March 5, 2001.



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