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Panera, the US bakery-cafe chain set to be gobbled up by the investment company JAB for $7.5bn, on Tuesday reported quarterly sales and profits that beat Wall Street’s expectations.

The company reported $42.5m in net income for the three months ending March 28, translating to earnings per diluted share of $1.88, a 30 per cent increase over the prior-year quarter. That came in a hair ahead of the $1.84 per share on $41.5m in profit that Wall Street had expected.

Sales, meanwhile, clocked in at $727.6m, a 6 per cent year-over-year improvement and over the $717.1m that analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had predicted. Comparable store sales, a key industry metric, came in at 2.6 per cent, slightly above expectations for a 2.46 per cent rise.

The company also announced a surge in digital sales, saying that channel now accounts for 26 per cent of its sales.

Chief executive and chairman Ron Shaich, noting that this may be Panera’s final quarterly report as a public company, said: “Over the last five years, we have developed and executed a powerful strategic plan to be a better competitive alternative with expanded runways for growth. The themes we have bet on – digital, clean food, loyalty, delivery, and new formats for growth – are shaping the restaurant industry today.”

Panera shares, which are up 45.4 per cent over the past 12 months, were up just 0.1 per cent in after-hours trading.

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