Papa John’s Soars Most Since Start of Pandemic as Sales Rise
(Bloomberg) -- Papa John’s International Inc. jumped the most since the early days of the pandemic after the pizza chain’s results showed demand for delivery and takeout food continues to grow.
Comparable sales in North America, the company’s largest market, rose 6.9% in the third quarter, Papa John’s said Thursday in a statement. That beat analysts’ average estimate of about 4%. International sales also came in above Wall Street’s projections.
Papa John’s is maintaining the momentum from earlier in the pandemic, when Americans increasingly sought takeout and delivery-friendly fare. Now, the chain is benefiting from the return of entertainment and sports -- occasions in which people might order several pizzas.
The shares jumped 7.6% at 11:02 a.m. in New York after an earlier gain of 14%, the highest intraday increase since March 2020. Papa John’s rose 45% through Wednesday’s close.
Papa John’s is expanding its U.S. presence with 100 new stores planned in Texas. The chain is also growing internationally with new locations coming across Latin America, Spain, Portugal and the U.K.
Like other companies, Papa John’s is grappling with a variety of supply and labor challenges. Chief Executive Officer Rob Lynch said the company has had some trouble getting equipment, but the supply-chain snarls haven’t had much impact on food. The equipment hurdles aren’t likely to interfere with new-store openings next year, he said.
On labor, the company announced a permanent expansion of employee benefits -- such as health, wellness, paid time-off and tuition -- to help retain and attract workers. There were added costs to the most recent quarter as a result.
The restaurant chain also announced a $425 million share repurchase program.
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