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Panera Bread Company Message Board

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  • hotpanera2 hotpanera2 Apr 6, 2007 4:26 PM Flag

    same store sales, average unit volumes and the future

    Comparing Freshbread to those guys is like comparing a high class hooker to a $5 streetwalker. I don't always agree with Freshbread, but his views are well thought out and I take them seriously. The others will say anything, half-true, untrue, rumor, innuendo, whatever, just to help a short term short position.

    Freshbread has been a long term Panera bull and has profited greatly. I actually spoke to him at a shareholders' meeting right before Au Bon Pain was sold (I think 1998 but I could be off a year) and we have posted here for many years. Freshbread and I recommended Jsda to this board 6 or 7 years ago at .75, the day after Panera signed an exclusive deal with Jsda. Hope some of you made the big bucks we did.

    While his concern with the class of '06 is legitimate, I'd be more concerned if there were a deterioration in the older stores, supporting a view that the concept tires after a few years. That is not the case as the '05 and earlier stores continue strong. Most of the '06 stores have not been open for 18 months yet, supporting what Ron said that it takes about that long to hit their stride, apart from the initial opening crowds which soon wanes. Nevertheless, I the '06 stores are doing a tad worse than I would have expected and I will be looking after Q2 to see where we are on that. Panera should be commended for providing such detailed AWS info. Few companies do.

    We are not now where we were when Panera was 3 or 4 (post-split). It was then an extraordinary growth story just starting. It's still a growth story with reasonable valuation and IMHO a very bright future. But it's more like doubling your money in 4 or 5 years, better with writing appropriate covered calls. This is a particularly good time to get in as the bad news is likely over and comps will start rising nicely.

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