By STEVE COOMES | Published: NOVEMBER 2, 2011
Papa John’s Pizza’s far better than expected third quarter for 2011 is leaving some analysts surprised and smiling.
In his Nov. 2 report, Mark Kalinowski of Janney Capital Investment pointed to the world’s third largest pizza chain’s “better-than-expected same-store sales” and “a lower-than-expected tax rate” as combining to raise Papa John’s quarterly profit and forecasted earnings per share slightly higher for the year.
For Q3, Papa John’s logged an impressive 5.3 percent increase in North American same-store sales — a full 3.1 percent above consensus estimates.
(My input, not Kalinowski’s: I don’t expect Pizza Hut to produce results anywhere near this in Q3, though industry watchers expect big things from Domino’s Pizza, as it rolls out its new line of Artisan pizzas.)
Such strong momentum for the period is highly encouraging for the chain as it heads into Q4: its busiest season traditionally, and now with the tailwind of its NFL sponsorship.
“It looks as if the brand’s positioning as the official pizza sponsor of the NFL is helping Papa John’s generate enviable same-store sales growth,” Kalinowski wrote in his brief.
Kalinowski is not the only one inspired by that performance. The chain itself raised its EPS target range for 2011 to $2.08 to $2.15 from $2.02 to $2.12. Janney raised its full-year estimated EPS by 8 cents and its Q4 projection 4 cents. Read more by clicking here.