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Panera Bread


reported a 1% rise in July comparable outlet sales and said last week's blackout will hurt August comparable sales.

In the four-week period ended Aug. 9, the St. Louis-based company said comparable sales at company-owned bakery-cafes increased 3.1%. On a franchise basis, comparable-outlet sales inched up 0.2%.

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Average systemwide weekly sales, which excludes closed locations, increased 1.4% to $35,630 in the four-week period, compared with $35,125 for the four weeks ended Aug. 10, 2002.

The company said its operations were hurt by the Aug. 14 power outage and related lack of safe drinking water. Panera estimated that lost sales will result in a 0.5% lower systemwide comparable sales increase, which breaks down to 1.0% lower company-owned sales and 0.2% lower franchised sales. Results for the four weeks ending Sept. 5 will be reported on Sept. 18.

Shares of the company closed at $43.28 Wednesday on the