Another earnings release, another company that doesn't provide a balance sheet or statement of cash flows in its press release. Earlier in the week it was Limited Brands (NYSE:LTD) neglecting to provide those documents in its press release and 8-K filing with the SEC. (In fairness, the company does provide this data on the same day of its press release, but only on its website.) This time the offender is PaneraBread (NASDAQ:PNRA).

The amount of attention that investors give to earnings press releases warrants the inclusion of all three financial statements. If a company can't provide all three statements for the press release, I believe it should save everyone some time and wait until the 10-Q is complete and ready for filing with the SEC.

Stepping down from my soapbox now, let's look at what Panera does provide. The company had an excellent quarter in sales, net income, and diluted earnings per share. All of it was driven primarily by strong same-store sales and new store openings.

Historically, the company has a relatively strong balance sheet. For now, we'll assume it still does. One of my primary concerns with rapidly expanding retail concepts is their debt levels; on occasion, companies like Panera have been known to get a bit ahead of themselves on the growth curve. As a general rule, fast-growing retailers with manageable debt levels tend to survive the inevitable bumps in the road.

The general downside to a well-followed retailer like Panera or Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) are the costs of expansion. Take a look at the trailing P/Es for Starbucks and Panera and you'll find numbers over 40, despite the fact that both expect to grow in the neighborhood of 25%. And you can forget about free cash flow; it's all being poured into opening new shops. However, when a Rule Breaker like this is able to consistently perform, the benefits can be intoxicating.

If you're patient, you'll find that folks will get scared at some point and an opportunity will present itself. For example, Panera expects softer comparable-store sales numbers toward the end of the year and slower growth in the latter half of the year as well. There's nothing wrong with this; growth isn't normally the smooth trend line we're told to expect. If investors overreact later in the year, or just become cool toward Panera, that may be the opportunity we're looking for. Just wait for that balance sheet and cash flow statement first.

Knead more Panera Bread info? Take a bite of these Foolish takes:

Nathan Parmelee owns shares in Starbucks, but has no financial interest in any of the other companies mentioned. The Fool has a disclosure policy.