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RICHMOND HEIGHTS, MO-Contiguous with its 2005 development plans, Panera Bread Co. is expanding into new markets with a proposed total of 46 new franchised stores. The bakery-café retailer entered into agreements with Trigo Bread Co. LLC and Manna Development Group LLC to open stores in the Midwest and along the West Coast.

Joyce Lunsford, owner of Trigo Bread Co. and a multi-unit franchisee of Pizza Hut, plans to open 15 bakery-cafés in Southern Michigan and will open an additional six bakery-cafes in Ohio counties adjacent to Trigo’s current markets.

Manna Development Group LLC, owned by Paul Saber, signed its initial agreement in 2002 with a commitment to open 15 Panera Bread bakery-cafés in North San Diego. Saber, who previously operated McDonald’s locations in Atlanta and Albuquerque, plans to open an additional 10 bakery-cafes in South San Diego by 2012. “The bakery-café concept is a perfect fit for the lifestyle of Californians,” Saber says.

On May 17 Panera Bread reported that earnings per diluted share increased 42% to $0.44 for the quarter ended April 19, 2005 compared to $0.31 per diluted share for the quarter ended April 17, 2004. Net income for the quarter ended April 19, 2005 increased 47% to $13.9 million compared to $9.5 million for the same period in the prior year.

Compared to 2004, Panera executives are expecting bakery-café openings in the fourth quarter to be significantly higher, and to occur later in the fourth quarter in 2005, resulting in increased costs in the fourth quarter. The company expects fourth quarter 2005 openings of 56 (23 company and 33 franchise) compared to 41 (15 company and 26 franchise) in the fourth quarter of 2004. In total, the company plans to open 70 company and 80 to 90 franchise locations in 2005.

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