The Louisville, Ky.-based pizza chain reported a profit of $8.4 million for the first quarter, or 15 cents a share, compared with a loss of $1.7 million, or 12 cents a share, for the same period a year earlier.
Analysts were expecting earnings of 9 cents a share, according to FactSet.
Revenue was $409.9 million, up from $398.4 million for the same period a year earlier. Analysts were expecting revenue to be $413 million.
The Covid-19 outbreak has forced the closure of 375 Papa John's restaurants, the company said, mainly in Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. Most restaurants in China and South Korea have reopened as the pandemic has abated there.
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During the crisis, comparable sales have grown at Papa John's North American locations, with especially strong growth in April, the company said. Between March 30 and April 26, comparable sales at North American locations grew nearly 27% year over year, following single-digit growth in each of the year's first three months.
But the cancellation of large gatherings has been a drag on sales, Papa John's added.