Bankery-cafe chain operator Panera Bread Co (NASDAQ:PNRA) late today posted better than expected third quarter earnings, sending its shares soaring higher in after-hours trading.
The St. Louis-based company reported Q3 EPS of $1.37 beating out Wall Street’s view of $1.34. Revenue rose 2.9% from last year to $684.2 million, also topping analysts estimates of $680.11 million.
Company-owned restaurant comparable sales rose 3.4% in the latest period, while franchise-operated comparable sales rose 0.2%. System-wide bakery-cafe comps rose 1.7%. Comparable sales are an important measure of a retailer’s performance, since they only compare sales from stores open at least one year.
Looking ahead, Panera forecast Q4 EPS to range from $1.96 to $2.01, which could miss analysts’ view of $2.00 for the period. Panera also set a Q4 goal for company-owned restaurant comps of 3.5% to 4.0%. That forecast is based on early Q4 comps that are tracking in the 3.4% range.
Ron Shaich, Chairman and CEO, commented via press release:
“Many years ago we foresaw the forces reshaping the restaurant industry and conceived a strategic plan to capitalize on them. Recognizing the potential of digital, we built Panera 2.0, a comprehensive guest experience platform enabled by digital. Recognizing the increasingly omni-channel nature of commerce, we accelerated our growth of catering, delivery, Rapid Pick-Up and Panera at Home. Recognizing the changing nature of competition, we enabled innovation in food, marketing, operations and design. Consistent with that intent, we saw the growing importance of wellness and doubled down on our commitments to transparency, clean food and having a positive impact on the food system. Further, we recognized the power of loyalty and created a program that is now the industry’s largest and arguably most impactful. While others in the industry are just now recognizing and beginning to tap into these themes, I am pleased to say that Panera is years ahead in our efforts and we believe we are well-positioned for long-term success.”
Panera shares rose $11.44 (+5.88%) to $206.00 in after-hours trading Tuesday. Prior to today’s report, PNRA had been mostly flat year-to-date.