NEW YORK (AP) — Panera lowered its forecast for the year on Tuesday as the company saw customer visits decline in the latest quarter and conceded that its offerings of soups, salads and sandwiches may not be as unique as they once were.
The restaurant chain, based in St. Louis, said sales rose 1.7 percent at company-owned stores open at least a year during its third quarter. That increase was the result of price hikes, however, which the company said offset a decline in transactions.
CEO Ron Shaich noted in a statement that the recent sales performance had prompted to "great deal of self-examination" and that a review had found operational inefficiencies, as well as a "less differentiated experience" that limits its ability to draw more customers.
He said Panera was taking "a number of deliberate steps" to improve its operations and competitive standing.
For the quarter, the company earned $42.8 million, or $1.48 per share. That's down from $36.5 million, or $1.24 per share, a year ago.
Not including one-time items, the company earned $1.35 per share, which was in line with Wall Street expectations.
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