By Dhanya Skariachan
Feb 18 Panera Bread Co gave a
disappointing profit forecast for the current quarter after
blaming inclement weather for hurting customer visits to its
The news dragged its shares down 1.4 percent in after-hours
trade on Tuesday.
The company expects earnings of $1.49 per share to $1.55 per
share in the first quarter. Analysts on average were looking for
a profit of $1.70.
It said sales at company-owned bakery cafes open at least 18
months were down about 2.2 percent in the first 48 days of the
The fast-growing chain until recently was an investor
favorite for its ability to keep increasing restaurant
sales despite the sluggish U.S. economic recovery. That run
ended in the third quarter, when Panera reported that it was
experiencing "operational friction" that limited its ability to
squeeze out higher sales.
The weak outlook for the current period overshadowed a
better-than-expected profit in the fourth quarter.
Net income rose to $54.2 million, or $1.96 per share, in its
fourth quarter that ended on Dec. 31, up from $51.6 million, or
$1.75 a share, a year earlier. Analysts were looking for a
profit of $1.94 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Sales at company-owned bakery cafes open at least 18 months
were up 1.7 percent in the fourth quarter, compared to the 1.4
percent rise analysts had expected, according to Consensus