Shares of American chain of bakery-café fast casual restaurants in the United States and Canada, Panera Bread Co. (NASDAQ: PNRA) rose over 8 percent, setting new all-time highs after topping analysts’ expectations, and provided a positive outlook for 2017. The company reported fourth-quarter earnings of $2.05 per share on $727.1 million in revenue, beating expectations of $2 per share on $727.7 million in revenue. Full-year 2016 adjusted earnings per share were $6.74, but Panera anticipates adjusted earnings to increase to between $7.45 and $7.70 a share of this year.
Ron Shaich, Chairman and CEO, commented, “The power of our multi-year strategic plan and the impact of our initiatives to transform Panera into a better competitive alternative with expanded runways for growth becomes ever-more clear with each passing quarter. In 2016, company comparable-store sales rose 4.2%, and our two-year comps were up 7.2%. What’s more, we again took market share in 2016 as our company comps outperformed the Black Box all-industry composite by 530 basis points. As well, we notched a new record for new cafe average weekly sales as sales reached $49,745 in new company cafes. Most importantly, our year-over-year growth in non-GAAP EPS was up 9% in 2016, which is further evidence that we have reached an inflection point in our transformation.”
Shaich continued, "With peak investments and significant scale behind us, we are now focused on completing the rollout of our initiatives and reaping the benefits. Because of the strength of our initiatives, we are confident our efforts will translate into market share gains and sustainable double digit earnings growth. Specifically, in 2017 we expect our results to again improve as we are today announcing a comp target of 3.5% to 4.5% and a non-GAAP EPS growth target of 11% to 14%."
The Company is targeting full year fiscal 2017 non-GAAP diluted earnings per share of $7.45 to $7.70, up 11% to 14%, when compared to non-GAAP diluted earnings per share for full year fiscal 2016.