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Papa John’s posts positive comps, profit gain

LOUISVILLE Ky. Bucking the trend in the pizza segment, Papa John’s International Inc. posted an uptick in profits for the second quarter ended June 29, a result of positive same-store sales and having more restaurants in operation than it did a year ago, the company said.

Papa John’s earned $7.6 million, or 27 cents per share, compared with $7 million, or 23 cents a share, in the same quarter of last year.

Excluding an after-tax loss of $4.1 million, or 14 cents a share, from the consolidation of a franchisee-owned cheese purchasing company, Papa John’s said it earned 41 cents a share in the latest quarter, which matched the average expectation among securities analysts polled by Thomson Financial.

Second quarter revenues rose 10.6 percent to $283.4 million and were driven by a domestic same-store sales increase of 2.4 percent. Revenue growth also was aided by the opening of 29 domestic restaurants. Through the first half of the year, Papa John’s opened 55 domestic restaurants and closed 46. Units in operation worldwide as of June 29 totaled 3,270, including 670 corporate locations.

Commending the company’s performance in spite of “the brutal commodity and consumer environment,” Nigel Travis, president and chief executive, said in a statement that Papa John’s “will continue to look for ways to assist both our corporate and franchise operators through this difficult period while driving top-line sales.”

The company reaffirmed its earnings guidance for the year, expecting per-share earnings to range from $1.68 to $1.76, in light of predictions that cheese, wheat and fuel costs will increase even further. A year ago, Papa John’s earned $1.66 per share. Both the expectations and year-ago results exclude the impact of consolidating the franchisee cheese purchasing company.

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