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Panera Bread Co (PNRA), Yum! Brands, Inc. (YUM), Burger King Worldwide Inc (BKW): A Stock That Is Worthy of Your Time and Portfolio

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Panera Bread Co (NASDAQ:PNRA), founded in 1981 with its headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, owns and franchises numerous retail bakery-cafes in the U.S. and Canada. Due to its ability to continually grow revenues and EPS, investors consider it a high-growth specialty eatery stock, but it seems that perception is beginning to change. This has more to do with the company’s recent earnings report.

Panera Bread Co (NASDAQ:PNRA) reported a second quarter fiscal 2013 revenue of $589.0 million, which is below the estimated $596.02 million. The reported $1.74 EPS is also below the estimated $1.77 EPS for the quarter. This puts the company’s net income at $51 million, which is an increase in comparison to $44 million, or $1.50 per share, reported in the same quarter of the previous fiscal year. Although there was an increase of 11% in revenue when compared to $531 million reported in the same quarter of the previous year, comparable store sales only experienced a 3.7% increase.

The chart above shows that in the last three fiscal second quarter periods, Panera Bread Co (NASDAQ:PNRA) has not balked as far as revenue growth is concerned. In comparing the three fiscal years, the growth was higher in second quarter of 2012 since it maintained a difference of $80 million when compared to second quarter of 2011. When the growth of second quarter of 2013 is compared to the second quarter of 2012, it is just a difference of $58 million.

No doubt, this is a strong result in consideration of the company’s business, but then it sent the company’s full year 2013 earnings and comparable store sales guidance on a downward plunge. Talking about comp sales, the chart below shows the trend of the company’s same store sales in the last three fiscal second quarter periods.

The chart shows comp sales for second quarter of 2011 to be 4.4% and by second quarter of 2012, it stood at 7.1%, but declined in the second quarter of 2013 to stand at 3.7%. According to the company’s CFO, Roger Matthews, this was below the company’s comp sales growth expectations. This muted growth in comp sales is mostly due to a 0.5% decline in transaction.

The company has also been able to maintain visible growth in terms of net income as the chart below shows.

Just like its revenue growth, the second quarter of 2012 also carried the lot in this, as it experienced more growth than was reported in the same quarter of 2013.

The second quarter of 2013’s worse-than-expected earnings report has led to the company revising and lowering its 2013 earnings forecast. The EPS was forecasted between $6.91 and $7.03, but due to recent happenings, has been lowered to a range between $6.75 and $6.85 while comp sales has been lowered to a range of 3% to 5% against the former 4% to 5% forecast.

Panera Bread Co (NASDAQ:PNRA)The company’s co-CEO and founder, Ronald M. Shaich pointed out that the company’s comp sales after 2 p.m. was higher than comp sales during breakfast. He attributed this to two things: the introduction of pasta items in the company’s menu in the month of February. Although the prices of these new items are higher, they turned out to be popular among Panera Bread Co (NASDAQ:PNRA)’s customers. The second one is the higher level of promotion for the afternoon and evening menu as against the breakfast menu.

Looking forward

Although the company does not currently pay a dividend to investors, the fact that it is trading at a premium when compared to its peers point to the fact that it has reasonable growth opportunities ahead of it. In order to help make this happen, the company is putting better plans in motion. This includes boosting the demand for the company’s breakfast items. Based on this, the management has announced that within the third quarter, it will introduce a new power breakfast sandwich.

Also, in order to draw in customers from all income backgrounds, lighter fare initiative will be introduced in 2014. This means you can walk into any of the eatery’s location and get half-sandwiches at less cost.

Still talking about the lag in its breakfast comp sales, the company wants to give that segment a boost with the use of special loyalty programs that are geared towards increasing purchases in the morning hours.

Finally, with the addition of 18 new company-owned locations and 19 new franchised locations to the company’s existing 1,663 locations in the second quarter, there are greater potentials for more growth in revenue and income.

Competition

There is no industry that does not have competition as that is one of the things that keep companies and businesses on their toes, giving the best they can in terms of products and services. The same thing applies to the specialty eateries industry Panera Bread Co (NASDAQ:PNRA) operates in.

One of its competitors is Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM). Owner and operator of popular brands KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut, Yum! released earnings result for the second quarter that showed it is not seeing the best of times. From the result, it showed that the company’s global system sales increased just 2% in the U.S. and declined 12% in China while comparable store sales increased 1% in the U.S. and declined 20% in China

The current scandal rocking its KFC brand in China had an impact on the brand’s comp sales growth in the region for the reported quarter. KFC maintains approximately 6,000 locations in about 850 Chinese cities and is currently battling with the outbreak of avian flu, which is being linked to its use of locally sourced chicken that is reported to contain extremely high levels of antibiotics.

Another keen competitor is Burger King Worldwide Inc (NYSE:BKW), which recently released its second quarter earnings report that showed a higher-than-expected rise in quarterly profits. The company missed revenue estimates by $42.94 million at a revenue of $278.3 million. However, it beats EPS estimate by $0.03 with the reported EPS of $0.21.

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