ST. LOUIS — A strong fourth quarter in which income rose 23% and sales increased 17% helped drive full-year fiscal 2010 earnings at Panera Bread Co. Net income in the year ended Dec. 28, 2010, totaled $111,866,000, equal to $3.65 per share on the common stock, up 30% from $86,050,000, or $2.81 per share, in fiscal 2009.
Net sales for the full year rose 14% to $1,542,489,000 from $1,353,494,000.
For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 28, 2010, net income was $36,520,000, or $1.22 per share, up from $29,696,000, or 96c per share. Sales totaled $428,161,000, up from $366,972,000.
In line with the solid financials for the year and quarter, Panera raised its 2011 profit target above the average estimate of Wall Street analysts, to $4.40 to $4.45 per share from $4.30 to $4.35 per share.
“We are pleased to deliver 27% earnings growth in the fourth quarter, marking the tenth out of the last 11 quarters of 20% plus growth,” said Bill Moreton, chief executive officer. “We believe this trend speaks to our strategy of continually investing in the quality of our customers’ experience to drive concept differentiation and competitive advantage. We expect 2011 to be another successful year as we target 22% to 23% e.p.s. growth, which is consistent with our targeted 15% to 20% e.p.s. growth rate over the next several years.”
During fiscal 2010, Panera opened 42 new bakery cafes and its franchisees opened 34 bakery cafes. The company opened 21 new restaurants during the fourth quarter and franchisees opened 12.