October 22, 2013 / 8:30 PM / 7 years ago

Panera Bread sees fewer visits in third-quarter, stock falls

Oct 22 (Reuters) - Panera Bread Co reported quarterly profit that matched Wall Street’s view on Tuesday, but shares fell more than 3 percent after sales at established company-owned restaurants grew less than expected because of fewer visits by diners.

Panera’s net income grew to $42.8 million, or $1.48 per share, in its fiscal third quarter that ended Sept. 24, from $36.5 million, or $1.24 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding tax-related adjustments, Panera earned $1.35 per share in the latest quarter, in line with the average of analyst estimates compiled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales at company-owned bakery cafes open at least 18 months rose 1.7 percent, compared with analysts’ expectations for a 2.7 percent increase, according to Consensus Metrix.

The company had fewer transactions during the quarter, but diners spent more when they did visit.

Panera also lowered its forecast for fourth-quarter earnings to a range of $1.91 to $1.97 per share, versus $2.05 to $2.11 per share previously.

Shares in Panera were down $5.16, or 3.2 percent, to $157.28 in after-hours trade.

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