ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Executives at Dominio's Pizza cited a "home run" first quarter in 2005 and softening sales as reasons it posted negative comparable-store sales in Q1 '06.

Domestic comps for the 12 weeks ended March 26 were off 3.8 percent (made up of a 3 percent decrease at company-owned stores and a 4 percent decrease at franchise stores) versus an 11.2 percent increase in the prior period.

Revenue was $347.6 million, down 6 percent compared to $369.6 million in the prior period. Net income, however, rose 6 percent to $26.2 million versus $24.7 million in 2005.

"No matter how you slice it, we had an incredible quarter last year that we knew would be hard to top," chief executive David Brandon told analysts on an April 27 conference call. "We will never enjoy reporting negative same store sales. However, the first quarter of 2006 was destined to be a very difficult quarter for us from a comparative sales standpoint."

International comps increased 3 percent, marking the 49th-straight consecutive quarter of positive international comps growth.

The company believes rising gas prices and consumer interest rates are starting to impact sales, Brandon said.

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