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Why the Tepid Forecast, Panera?

By Mark Reeth and Simon Erickson – Feb 19, 2014 at 2:35PM

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Panera stock is up today, despite a few soft points in its earnings report. Is the competition catching up?

Shares of Panera Bread (PNRA) are up nearly 4% today after the company reported fourth-quarter earnings. While profits were up, same-store sales growth was up only 1.7% year over year, which was due more to the size of the checks than to volume, as traffic actually fell this quarter, something the company attributed to the particularly harsh winter this year.

Guidance for the full year ahead also came in a bit soft for the company, missing analysts' expectations, as CEO Ronald Shaich announced that Panera would be reinvesting in many of its stores this year. In today's installment of Stock of the Day, Motley Fool Supernova analyst Simon Erickson discusses the future of Panera, and says that this will be somewhat of a "wait-and-see" moment for the company. He'll be looking ahead to March, when the full reinvestment plan will be detailed, to see if this move will create long-term value.

So does that mean the stock is still a long-term buy today, or should investors be holding off? Simon says he still sees Panera as a stock that he believes is as a long-term buy-and-hold. Despite the competition ramping up in the fast-casual space, he thinks Panera can hold its own and deliver for shareholders in the years ahead.

Mark Reeth has no position in any stocks mentioned. Simon Erickson has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Panera Bread. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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