Panera Bread Company (NASDAQ:PNRA) is making new 52 week highs a day after Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) hit a new 52 week high. Panera reported Q3 results that topped analyst estimates. Revenues for the quarter were up 22% to $453 million and earnings per share jumped 29% YOY from $0.75 per share to $0.97 per share, on a fully diluted basis.
The company has revised its earnings per share outlook for FY 2011 from $4.63 to $4.65, up 28% over FY 2010. During the third quarter of fiscal 2011, the Company opened eight new bakery-cafes and its franchisees opened 17 new bakery-cafes. The Company generated operating margin improvement of approximately 80 basis points compared to the third quarter of fiscal 2010. This operating margin improvement was primarily driven by year-over-year structural improvements in labor expense.
Bill Moreton, CEO, commented, “We are very pleased with both our strong 6.0% comparable store sales growth and our 29% earnings growth in the third quarter. We have now been able to grow our earnings per share at a rate of 20% plus for 13 out of the last 14 quarters. We continue to believe that our consistent performance has been driven by the investments that we have made in the quality of our food, people and customer experience to drive competitive differentiation. We have also been able to deploy a meaningful amount of our excess cash to drive earnings growth and shareholder returns through high ROI acquisitions and share repurchases. We look forward to another strong year in 2012 with our earnings target falling within our long-term target range of 15-20% annual earnings growth.”
PNRA is trading at $131.01 today, up 13.21%%. Shares are up 22.62% in one year. The stock’s trading range for the year is between $88.75 and $138.58.
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