UPDATE 2-Panera forecasts top Street, shares up
* Q3 EPS $0.97 vs Street view $0.94
* Sees Q4 EPS of $1.39 to $1.41 vs Street view $1.37
* Sets 2012 EPS of $5.38 to $5.48 vs Street view $5.29
* Shares jump almost 10 percent after hours
Oct 25 (Reuters) - Panera Bread Co on Tuesday forecast fourth-quarter and 2012 earnings above Wall Street expectations, sending its shares up almost 10 percent.
Panera shares closed down $115.72 and jumped 9.8 percent to $127.01 in extended trading.
The popular bakery-cafe chain, which also reported better-than-expected third-quarter profit, forecast fourth-quarter earnings of $1.39 to $1.41 per share, above analysts' average call for a profit of $1.37 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
For 2012, Panera expects earnings of $5.38 to $5.48 per share compared with analysts' average call of $5.29 per share.
"At first blush, the quarter appears unilaterally positive," William Blair analyst Sharon Zackfia said in a client note.
The St. Louis-based chain, one of the restaurant industry's best performing companies, said net income rose 27 percent to $28.8 million, or 97 cents per share, for the third quarter ended Sept. 27.
Results from the latest quarter topped analysts' average call by 3 cents per share.
Panera said revenue rose 22 percent to $453.1 million.
It reported a 6 percent rise in sales at company-owned restaurants open at least 18 months and a 3.1 percent gain in franchise-operated same-restaurant sales.
Zackfia said closely watched same-restaurant sales appeared to be accelerating and that new unit productivity was meaningfully better than last year.
The company is scheduled to host a conference call with analysts on Wednesday morning.
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