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Panera Bread Company Announces New Share Repurchase Program and Termination of Existing Program

ST. LOUIS, May 19, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Panera Bread Company (NASDAQ:PNRA) announced today that its Board of Directors has approved a new three-year share repurchase program of up to $600 million. This new program will replace the existing program, which was scheduled to expire on June 4, 2017, and has been terminated by the Board of Directors in connection with approving the new program. The repurchases will be effected from time to time on the open market, or in privately negotiated transactions, or under a Rule 10b5-1 Plan. The share repurchase program and the Board's authorization of the program may be modified, suspended, or discontinued at any time.

Since 2009, the company has returned $1.3 billion to shareholders through its share buyback programs, which equates to nearly 30% of average shares outstanding over the corresponding period.

Ron Shaich, founder, chairman and CEO, commented: “We are very pleased with the progress we are making in our long-term strategy to become a better competitive alternative in our cafes by reducing friction through Panera 2.0 and activating innovation in our food, marketing, operations and store design, while building runways for expanded growth in high-potential, adjacent businesses like delivery, catering and consumer packaged goods. Consistent with our strategy, we are working to deliver shareholder value and fund our strategic initiatives through several value-enhancing efforts, including our share repurchase program. We remain committed to continuing to return cash to shareholders. This new authorization reflects our continued confidence in our progress and our belief in our ability to drive shareholder value in the medium and long term.”

About Panera Bread

Thirty years ago, at a time when quick service meant low quality, Panera set out to challenge this expectation. We believed that food that was good and that you could feel good about, served in a warm and welcoming environment by people who cared, could bring out the best in all of us. To us, that is food as it should be and that is why we exist. So we began with a simple commitment: to bake fresh bread from fresh dough in our bakery-cafes. No short cuts, just bakers with simple ingredients and hot ovens. Each night, any unsold bread and baked goods were shared with neighbors in need. These traditions carry on today, as we have continued to find ways to be an ally to our guests. That means crafting a menu of soups, salads and sandwiches that we are proud to feed our families; like poultry and pork raised without antibiotics on our salads and sandwiches; a commitment to transparency and options that empower our guests to eat the way they want; seasonal flavors and whole grains; and a commitment to removing artificial additives (flavors, colors, sweeteners and preservatives) from the food in our bakery-cafes. Why? Because we think that simpler is better and we believe in serving food as it should be. Because when you don’t have to compromise to eat well, all that is left is the joy of eating. We’re also focused on improving quality and convenience. With investments in technology and operations, we now offer new ways to access your Panera favorites – like mobile ordering and Rapid PickUp for to-go orders – each designed to make things easier for our guests. As of March 29, 2016, there were 1,997 bakery-cafes in 46 states and in Ontario, Canada operating under the Panera Bread®, Saint Louis Bread Co.® or Paradise Bakery & Cafe® names. For more information, visit panerabread.com or find us on Twitter (@panerabread), Facebook (facebook.com/panerabread) or Instagram (@panerabread).

Matters discussed in this news release regarding our intention to repurchase shares of our common stock from time to time under the share repurchase program, our growth potential and the future success of our strategic initiatives and the intended use of any repurchased shares are forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These statements are often identified by the words "believe," "positioned," "estimate," "project," "target," "plan," "goal," "assumption," "continue," "intend," "expect," "future," "anticipate," and other similar expressions, whether in the negative or the affirmative, that are not statements of historical fact. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks, uncertainties, and assumptions that are difficult to predict, and you should not place undue reliance on our forward-looking statements. Our actual results and timing of certain events could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of certain factors, including, but not limited to, those discussed from time to time in our reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our Annual Report on Form 10- K for the fiscal year ended December 29, 2015, and our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. All forward-looking statements and the internal projections and beliefs upon which we base our expectations included in this release are made only as of the date of this release and may change. While we may elect to update forward-looking statements at some point in the future, we expressly disclaim any obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

Media Contact: Jonathan Yohannan Director, Media (jonathan.yohannan@panerabread.com)

Source:Panera Bread Company