According to Reuters news service, “pizza chain Papa John’s International Inc (PZZA.O) on Tuesday posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit as the company cut costs and U.S. same-store sales rose, sending shares up 1.5 percent in after-hours trading.”

“The company, which competes with Domino’s Pizza (DPZ.N) and Yum Brands’ (YUM.N) Pizza Hut, also raised the low end of its 2009 profit outlook by 2 cents.”

“‘The biggest thing that’s been a theme for restaurants this quarter has been cost-cutting and managing expenses,’ said Feltl and Company analyst Mark Smith, who had expected same-store sales to decline.”

“‘It’s encouraging to have essentially flat same-store sales,’ added Smith, who has a ‘hold’ rating on the stock. ‘It’s definitely better than expected.'”

“Smith thinks Papa John’s is taking market share from competitors by focusing on customer satisfaction and the company’s core product: pizza. Second-quarter net income almost doubled to $14.18 million, or 51 cents per share, from $7.65 million, or 27 cents per share, a year ago,” the story said.

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