ST LOUIS – Panera Bread Co. posted net earnings of $1.50 per share for the second quarter 2012, up 27 percent from last year’s second quarter’s earnings of $1.18 per share. Revenue for the St. Louis-based restaurant chain came to $531 million in the second quarter, up 18 percent from the same period last year.
Panera’s corporate bakery-cafe sales grew by 7.1 percent and franchise bakery-cafe sales grew by 5.9 percent. The company improved its operating margin by 9 points over the quarter, but this was partially offset by higher administrative costs and other expenses.
Zack’s Investment Research notes that Panera has “remained unruffled” during the recent economic slowdown and is one of the few casual dining chains that has expanded. However, increases in food prices and heightened competition in the future could cut into the company’s profits, according to Zack’s.
For the third quarter, Panera is shooting for earnings of $1.16 to $1.18 per share, a potential increase of 20 percent over the third quarter 2011.
As of lunchtime, Panera’s stock was trading at $154.19 per share, an 8.65 percent increase from Tuesday’s close.