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LOUISVILLE, KY-Papa John’s International could have 4,000 domestic restaurants by 2010, up from its current total of 2,657, if executives’ plans come to fruition. It is management’s goal to add 125 to 150 new stores a year in the pizza chain until the target is reached.

About 1,500 of the new units are planned for traditional carry-out and delivery locations, while the other 500 are forecast to be in non-traditional venues such as athletic complexes and transportation hubs. For the current year executives have about 100 new stores on tap.

Management is also looking to ramp up international store growth. Now with about 375 foreign units, the company plans to open about 900 over the next nine years, including 100 in 2007, with a particular concentration in China, India, South Korea, Russia, the UK and Mexico. “We are lack in scale in about every market,” said Nigel Travis, Papa John’s president and chief executive officer, during the company’s first-quarter conference call, stressing that the concept should have 50 units in major cities.

Management might also consider rolling out a non-pizza concept in the coming years to stimulate growth, “We believe that if we did do anything, we’ve got great leverageable assets,” Travis says. “Some time down the track that may happen but not in the near future.”

During the first quarter, which ended April 1, same-store sales at Papa John’s crept up 0.2% year over year, while revenues rose 7.5% to $260.6 million. Earnings per share dipped to 43 cents compared to 47 cents in the same period last year.

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