Papa John’s shares rise on upbeat North America comparable sales forecast


FILE PHOTO: The Papa John’s store in Westminster, Colorado, U.S. August 1, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/File Photo

(Reuters) – Papa John’s International Inc (PZZA.O) on Tuesday reported a smaller-than-expected decline in quarterly comparable sales in North America, helped by new advertising and rebranding as it tries to recover from bad publicity stemming from an acrimonious split with its founder.

Shares of the Louisville, Kentucky-based company are trading up 1 percent after the closing bell.

The company also said it now expects full-year North America comparable sales to decline in the range of 6.5 percent to 8.5 percent, compared to a prior outlook of 7 percent to 10 percent fall.

The company is trying to rebound after battling with its founder John Schnatter over control of the company. Schnatter was booted as chairman following his usage of a racial slur during a conference call in July.

Comparable sales in North America fell 9.8 percent in the third quarter ended Sept. 30. Analysts on average had expected a 10.9 percent fall, according to IBES data by Refinitiv.

Papa John’s reported a net loss attributable to the company of $13 million or 41 cents per share, compared to a profit of $22 million or 60 cents, a year earlier.

Excluding items, Papa John’s earned 20 cents per share missing analysts’ estimates of 22 cents.

Revenue fell 15.7 percent to $364.01 million, missing Wall Street estimates of $393.7 million.

Reporting by Soundarya J in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr

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