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Panera Bread Posts Encouraging Q1 Growth to Little Fanfare

By Motley Fool Staff - May 6, 2016 at 9:08AM

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Why the market isn’t sharing the love for a company with over 26% profit growth and raised guidance.

Panera Bread (PNRA) grew its bottom line by 26% in its most recently reported quarter and raised guidance as a result. But did that impress the market? No, it did not. Investors barely reacted to the news.

In this clip from the Motley Fool Money radio show, Chris Hill, Matt Argersinger, Jeff Fischer, and Ron Gross talk about the possible reasons behind this collective shrug, how the company is reshaping the experience in its restaurants in order to boost growth, and its potential for the future. Big changes are afoot at Panera Bread, and you'll want to listen to find out what they are and how the company's executing on them.

A transcript follows the video.

This podcast was recorded on April 29, 2016. 

Chris Hill: First-quarter profits for Panera Bread up 26%. The company also raised guidance. This is kind of like LinkedIn. This is a good quarter...

Ron Gross: But yet so different.

Hill: Well, just in terms of the basic results, the raising of guidance...

Matt Argersinger: That's like comparing iPhones to hep C drugs.

Jeff Fischer: Which I did, successfully, I think.

Hill: And yet, no love for the stock! What's going on?

Fischer: Well, the stock has had a lot of love lately. In the last year or so, it's done pretty well, and the past five years, too. The past three years have been a little rocky because, in 2014, they were going through some troubles, and they announced Panera 2.0 almost exactly two years ago today.

Hill: The mosh pit comment from CEO Ron Shaich.

Fischer: Exactly. That's one we'll be talking about indefinitely, I think. 2.0, to improve the throughput of customers, to go digital, to amp up their catering services, and their dine-in options. And it's really working. Same-store sales were up strongly, revenues growing again, earnings per share grew strong double digits. And they believe they're setting up a business that will be able to deliver these higher-than-average earnings-per-share growth numbers for a long time to come. They've only turned about 400 of their 900 locations into Panera 2.0s so far. So plenty of room to keep improving.

Hill: I don't know, Matty. Based on the ones that we've seen close to our office, they look pretty promising.

Argersinger: Anecdotally, the experience at Panera now at the stores is much better than it has been in the past. It's easy. It's seamless.

Gross: The rapid pickup is priceless.

Fischer: It's brilliant. It's great.

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