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Papa John’s same-store sales fall 5.3%

The chain's stock falls after its sales weaken again.

Same-store sales at Papa John’s declined 5.3% in the first quarter ended April 1, the company said on Tuesday.

It was the second-straight decline after several years of consistent growth for the Louisville, Ky.-based chain, and represented a deterioration from the chain’s 3.9% decline in the fourth quarter of last year.

Still, the results were “consistent with our expectations,” CEO Steve Ritchie said in a statement. Ritchie took over for company founder and longtime CEO John Schnatter late last year following comments blaming weak NFL ratings for the chain’s performance, and in turn blaming players protesting during the national anthem for those weak ratings.

Ritchie said the company is “focused on enhancing our value perception and driving our strategic initiatives.”

Company stock declined 4% in after-hours trading Tuesday.

Total revenue declined 4.9% in the quarter to $427.4 million. Net income fell 41% to $16.7 million, or 50 cents per share, from $28.4 million, or 77 cents.

Papa John’s said its operating margin at company restaurants declined 2.7% as a percentage of revenues because of lower sales and higher labor costs.

International same-store sales increased 0.3%.

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