LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Papa John's said its U.S. comparable-store sales for the four weeks ended May 23, 2004, declined 3.4 percent (composed of a 0.8 percent decrease at company-owned units and a 4.2 percent decrease at franchise units).

According to a news release, the company said a lack of solid operational and promotional execution at its franchised stores is at the core of its struggles this year.

"Since the fourth quarter of 2003, comparable sales results at company-owned units have exceeded franchise restaurants on average by 1 to 3 percent," said Papa John's Chief Operations Officer Bill Van Epps. "We are working with our franchisees to help them focus on improving operational and promotional execution at their restaurants. We are hopeful these efforts will go a long way toward closing this performance gap."

Total systemwide international sales for the four weeks ended May 23 decreased 0.7 percent, on a constant U.S. dollar basis, compared to the same period last year.

At May 23 there were 2,766 Papa John's units (568 company-owned and 2,198 franchised) operating in 49 states and 16 international markets. Papa John's also franchises 126 Perfect Pizza units in the UK.

Read related Papa John's articles by clicking here.

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