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Panera income up 27%, stock hits record high

October 26, 2011 | 11:12 am

Strong third-quarter earnings at Panera Bread Co. helped push the bakery café chain’s stock to a record high.

The fast-casual company said its revenue soared 22% to $453 million in the quarter ending Sept. 27, up from $371 million in the same period a year prior. Net income spiked 27% to $28.8 million from $22.7 million, sending the chain’s stock to a midday high of $133.80.

It closed at $115.72 on Tuesday.

Diluted earnings per share for the quarter settled at 97 cents apiece, up 29% year over year from 75 cents a share.

Sales at company-owned branches opened more than a year spiked 6%, while franchisees said their revenue collectively increased more than 3%.

Breakfast sandwiches were up 18% year over year. The new turkey artichoke panini sparked a 35% boom for the Signature Panini category. Cookie sales boomed 41% on the strength of Panera’s iced pumpkin cookie.

The chain plans to reintroduce its salmon salad and Cuban panini next year along with new items such as a turkey cranberry panini.

St. Louis-based Panera now has 1,504 locations open and plans to open up to 115 more next year.


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Photo: Panera Bread Co.