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Panera secures $100 million loan

BY Dan Berthiaume

St. Louis — Panera Bread Company has secured a five-year $100 million term loan from Bank of America, Wells Fargo and TD Bank. Proceeds from the loan will be used for general corporate purposes, including a range of growth initiatives such as the rollout of the Panera 2.0 in-store technology initiative.

"This modest amount of debt is the next logical step in the evolution of our thinking around capital structure," said Roger Matthews, Panera Bread’s CFO. "As we continue to grow our store base, invest in expanded growth opportunities and return capital to shareholders through consistent share repurchase, we expect this debt should allow us to achieve a range of objectives for shareholders. However, nothing has changed in our commitment to maintain modest leverage on the balance sheet as well as significant financial capacity to be opportunistic."

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Survey: Most consumers will spend less than $250 for Father’s Day

BY Dan Berthiaume

Los Angeles — Most consumers will spend less than $250 for Father’s Day this year. Results of the PriceGrabber Father’s Day survey reveal that half of 3,949 U.S. consumers surveyed plan to budget less than $100 on gifts this year and 25% plan to spend between $100 and $249.

When shoppers were asked to select all the types of gifts they plan to purchase for Father’s Day, the clothing and accessories category ranked as the most popular choice at 28%. This was followed by 25% who said that their gift would be spending quality time with Dad. Gift cards ranked third at 22% followed by practical gifts such as tools, auto accessories and appliances at 21%.

According to the survey, 18% are planning to shop for a tech-type gift such as a computer, tablet or smartphone for dad. When shoppers were asked to select all the tech-type gifts they plan to shop for, tablets were the top choice again this year at 34% followed by smartphones at 32% and laptop computers at 29%.

When consumers were asked how they plan to purchase their Father’s Day gifts this year, 57% indicated they would buy from online stores, with 48% of those who will purchase from a computer, 6% who will buy from an electronic tablet and 3% who said they would shop from their mobile phone.

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Survey: Private Label Groceries Growing in Popularity

BY Staff Writer

BOULDER, Colo. — More shoppers are purchasing private label (store brand) products in 2014 compared to the prior year. According to a recent study of more than 6,200 consumers by Market Force Information, 98% of shoppers purchase private label food items or cleaning products at least some of the time, on the rise from 96% in 2013.

Most shoppers are familiar with their supermarket’s private label dairy products, and most are regularly purchasing them. Seventy-eight percent of shoppers indicated that their primary grocer offers private label dairy products, 8% said they do not and 14% don’t know. Sixty percent of consumers indicated that they buy private label dairy most of the time or always, and another 35% said they sometimes purchase it.

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