October 27, 2009 / 10:29 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 2-Panera profit beats view, shares up on outlook

* Q3 EPS 61 cents vs Wall St view of 58 cents

* Issues 2010 EPS forecast above analysts’ view

* Says Q4 same-restaurant sales trending higher

* Shares rise 4.7 percent (Adds same-restaurant sales details, background, byline)

By Lisa Baertlein

LOS ANGELES, Oct 27 (Reuters) - U.S. bakery-cafe operator Panera Bread Co PNRA.O posted quarterly profit that beat expectations, forecast 2010 earnings above analysts’ view and said this quarter’s sales were on the uptick, sending shares up nearly 5 percent.

St. Louis, Missouri-based Panera said sales at established company-owned outlets were up 6.9 percent for the first 27 days of the fourth quarter, while sales at established franchised units were up 6.3 percent in the same time period.

If the trend continues, the company would be on track to top third-quarter, same-restaurant sales, which rose 3.3 percent at company-operated bakery-cafes and up 2.5 percent at franchise-operated outlets.

Panera, McDonald’s Corp (MCD.N) and Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc (CMG.N) are rarities among restaurants this year because they have reported positive sales.[ID: nN22445407]

Restaurant operators are weathering the worst industry conditions in nearly three decades as a lingering recession and rising unemployment hammers discretionary spending on everything from clothing to restaurant food.

Net income rose to $18.9 million, or 61 cents per share, up from net income of $13.7 million, or 45 cents, the year earlier, the company said on Tuesday.

Earnings from Panera, which owns or franchises more than 1,300 bakery-cafes under the Panera Bread and Saint Louis Bread Co names, beat analysts’ average estimate calling for a profit of 58 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Total revenue rose 6 percent to $335.0 million, beating analysts call for revenue of $333.8 million.

Panera forecast 2010 earnings of $3.05 to $3.15 per share, which would be an increase of 14 percent to 18 percent from the mid-point of the range forecast for fiscal 2009.

Analysts, on average, were looking for a profit of $3.04 per share for 2010.

Shares of Panera rose to $57.70 in extended trade, from Nasdaq close of $55.10. (Reporting by Lisa Baertlein, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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