Papa John's gives upbeat full-year forecast after rocky 2018, shares rise
(Reuters) - Papa John's International Inc forecast better-than-feared North American same-store sales on Tuesday, as the U.S. pizza chain's investments on rebranding following its months-long spat with founder John Schnatter pay off. Shares were up about 3 percent in extended trading, after the company also said it would use about half of a $200 million investment from Starboard Value LP to boost its marketing, introduce new pizzas and improve online ordering
(Reuters) - Papa John's International Inc forecast better-than-feared North American same-store sales on Tuesday, as the U.S. pizza chain's investments on rebranding following its months-long spat with founder John Schnatter pay off.
Shares were up about 3 percent in extended trading, after the company also said it would use about half of a $200 million investment from Starboard Value LP to boost its marketing, introduce new pizzas and improve online ordering.
"We're going to be very focused on getting traffic, moving back in the right direction because we donated a lot of share in 2018, and we certainly want to get that share back over a period of time", Chief Executive Officer Steve Ritchie said on conference call with analysts.
Papa John's said sales would continue to struggle in the first half of 2019, but will improve by the second half.
Schnatter, who resigned in July as chairman following reports he used a racial slur during a media call, has said that the comments were taken out of context.
The company has blamed the negative publicity for denting sales and has taken steps to improve its public image by removing Schnatter's image from promotional materials and pizza boxes.
Papa John's earlier this month snubbed Schnatter and accepted an investment from Starboard, also naming the hedge fund's Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Smith as its chairman.
Schnatter has filed an updated lawsuit against the company as he tries to get more control over the chain he founded in 1984.
Papa John's forecast 2019 North America comparable sales to fall 1 percent to 5 percent, while analysts' were expecting a 3.4 percent drop, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
The company reported an 8.1 percent fall in North America comparable sales in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 30, compared with the 7.4 percent decline analysts had projected.
However, the company missed total revenue and profit estimates for the quarter.
(Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.