Papa John’s CEO says April was the best month in company’s history


April was the best month in Papa John’s history, CEO Rob Lynch told CNBC’s Kate Rogers on Wednesday. 

The pizza chain saw a nearly 27% increase in comparable sales for North America during the month as the coronavirus pandemic continued to upend daily life. However, Lynch said the Covid-19 outbreak isn’t the singular factor behind the sales growth. 

“We said about 10% of that can be attributed to the tailwind of Covid and the new behaviors,” he said on “Power Lunch.” “So that means there is double-digit growth that is built in around other things.”

Lynch pointed to Papa John’s menu innovation and partnerships with third-party delivery services, as well as momentum around its rewards program. “We have 1 million new customers coming into the franchise. A lot of those coming are in through our loyalty program,” he said. 

He said those growth drivers were implemented prior to the coronavirus pandemic and will remain, regardless of how long the health crisis persists. 

“We feel very confident that we have the infrastructure in place to deliver long-term, sustainable growth,” said Lynch, who became CEO in August

Lynch’s comments came after shares of Papa John’s hit a 52-week high of $78.06 on Wednesday. The stock closed the session up nearly 1% at $76.90. 

The Louisville-based company announced first-quarter earnings before the bell, reporting a 5.3% increase in comparable sales for North America during the period.

It posted revenues of $409.9 million, up from $398.4 million in the same quarter last year. Net income came in at $8.4 million, up from a loss of $1.7 million a year ago. 

Papa John’s stock is up 21.66% so far in 2020, while the S&P 500 is down 11.65%. 

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