The bakery and cafe company said same-store sales in June rose by 2.3%, which included a 2.4% increase in franchise-operated stores' comps and a 2.1% increase in same-store sales generated by company-owned bakeries. Total sales increased an impressive 28% to $253 million.
That may be a bit better than investors might have expected, given Panera's recent tough times, but there's still a lot to digest. It's best not to forget that Panera recently slashed its second-quarter guidance. It faces tough competition -- you could consider everybody from Starbucks
On the other hand, there are many things I like about Panera. Zagat recently ranked Panera a top chain. Panera's fresh-baked-bread angle is nice, as is its emphasis on what many consumers would consider healthier options, such as antibiotic-free chicken and organic, all-natural menu items. There's also the gesture of goodwill that many consumers like to hear about these days -- at the end of each day, Panera donates unsold baked goods to organizations for the needy.
Of course, when mulling Panera as an investment idea, a forward P/E ratio of 20 doesn't exactly sound cheap, considering the continued uncertainty and the recent cut to second-quarter guidance. Although there are things I find tantalizing about Panera, it seems prudent to wait for additional information about its progress when it provides its second-quarter earnings data.
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