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Panera’s ‘strategic plan’ spurs Q4 sales growth

panera bread exterior

Comps at Panera Bread rose 2.3 percent during the fourth quarter, growing on initiatives put in place to expand delivery and catering, the bakery-cafe chain said Tuesday.

At the chain’s company-owned units, same-store sales rose 3.6 percent during the quarter. 

“Our strategic plan is working,” CEO Ron Shaich said in a statement. “Our comps of 3.6 percent in Q4 2015 and 6.4 percent in the first 41 days of Q1 2016 are leading indicators of the impact our initiatives are having.”

Total revenues at the chain rose 3 percent year over year, to $691.7 million, while net income fell 11 percent.

Panera’s profits have slipped in recent quarters, as investment in the chain’s strategic plan is squeezing its earnings. However, Shaich said the chain remains confident that its results “will continue to strengthen” as transition costs associated with its new initiatives begin to peak.

Panera said earlier this month that digital sales now account for 16 percent of its business.

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