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Panera reports earnings in line with expectations, revenue beats

Natalia Wojcik

As Panera Bread (NASDAQ: PNRA) prepares to be acquired, the company turned in what it called its "best quarter in four years," with earnings that were in line with Wall Street estimates and revenue that bested those views.

  • EPS: $1.83, versus $1.83 expected by Thomson Reuters estimates
  • Revenue: $728 million, versus $717.1 million expected by analysts

The Missouri-based company posted first-quarter earnings of $1.83 a share, excluding items, on revenue of $728 million. In the year-ago period, Panera earned a $1.56 a share on $685.2 million in revenue. A consensus of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $1.83 per share on revenue of $717.1 million.

Same-store sales rose 5.3 percent at company-owned bakery cafes.

"The themes we have bet on — digital, clean food, loyalty, delivery, and new formats for growth — are shaping the restaurant industry today. Outside the big three pizza players, Panera is leading the industry in digital, with 26% of sales now digital," CEO and chairman Ron Shaich said in a press release on Tuesday.

The sandwich shop recently announced that it plans to hire 10,000 new employees as part of its delivery service expansion. Delivery is now available in 24 percent of system-wide bakery cafes.

Tuesday's earnings release is one of its last as a public company, and Panera doesn't plan on updating its outlook for fiscal 2017.

The chain of bakery cafes is being acquired in a deal valued at about $7.5 billion by privately-held JAB Holding, which also owns brands like Keurig Green Mountain and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. On Monday, JAB said it is looking for buyers for its luxury brands including Jimmy Choo, as it shifts its focus to its food and beverage operations.

Shaich used the earnings release as an opportunity to thank shareholders for their support over the last two decades. JAB's acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter.

Shares of Panera rose about 45 percent over the past 12 months, as of Tuesday's close.

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