LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Papa John's International, Inc. (NASDAQ:PZZA) announced that its domestic systemwide comparable sales for the five weeks ended March 30, 2003, decreased 5.1 percent (composed of a 6.6 percent decrease at company-owned units and a 4.6 percent decrease at franchise units).

For the 13 weeks ended March 30, domestic comparable sales decreased 4.9 percent (composed of a 5.3 percent decrease at company-owned units and a 4.8 percent decrease at franchise units).

In a news release, Papa John's said the timing of the Easter holiday had a 1 percent to 2 percent positive impact on March comparable sales as substantially all Papa John's restaurants have reduced operating hours on Easter Sunday. The holiday fell in March last year, and will fall in April this year. Accordingly, the timing of Easter is expected decrease April comparable sales by approximately 1 percent to 2 percent.

In the release, the company blamed continued pizza category weakness, competitive pricing and vigorous promotional activity for the U.S. sales declines.

Total systemwide international sales for March increased 2 percent, on a constant U.S. dollar basis, over the comparable period last year. These results include the closing of all four franchised restaurants in Guatemala during the March 2003 period and the termination of the franchise agreement for that country. Additionally, although substantially all of the 21 franchised restaurants in Venezuela had reopened by March following their temporary closing during the period of political and economic unrest in that country, the sales volumes were somewhat lower subsequent to their reopening. Total systemwide international sales increased 2.7 percent, on a constant U.S. dollar basis, over the comparable period last year, excluding sales results for Venezuela in both periods.

Total systemwide international sales for the 13 weeks ended March 30, increased 0.2 percent, on a constant U.S. dollar basis, over the comparable period last year. All 21 franchised restaurants in Venezuela were closed approximately six of the 13 weeks in the 2003 period, and total systemwide international sales increased 3.6 percent, on a constant U.S. dollar basis, over the comparable period last year, excluding sales results for Venezuela in both periods.

As of March 30, there were 2,800 Papa John's outlets (592 company-owned and 2,208 franchised) operating in 49 states and 11 international markets. Papa John's also franchises 142 Perfect Pizza units in the UK.

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