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LOUISVILLE, KY-As development costs increase, Papa John’s International has cut back slightly from its expected store openings this year, but the company “remains on track” overall, executives said at its third quarter conference call.

Some franchisees have decided to push fourth-quarter openings into next year, reducing the maximum projected openings for the year down somewhat to between 180 and 200 net units. But the total domestic development pipeline of 335 restaurants and nearly 900 international openings scheduled in the next nine years remain strong, and is expected to increase.

“The challenge [domestically] is that we’re going into areas where we aren’t well known,” including New York City, said Nigel Travis, president and CEO. “We’re taking a different strategy for each market, and we have good strategies for each of those markets.”

Internationally, the chain recently signed franchise agreements to enter Poland and Turkey in 2008, and continues to expand in Korea and China.

Revenues were $262.8 million for the quarter, an increase of 9.6% from the same period in 2006. Net income was $4.8 million, compared to 2006 third-quarter net income of $13.1 million, with nearly $4 million in unusual gains. Domestic system-wide comparable sales increased 0.2% (composed of a 0.5% increase at company-owned restaurants and flat sales at franchised restaurants).

As of Sept. 30, there were 3,139 Papa John’s restaurants (660 company-owned and 2,479 franchised) operating in all 50 states and 27 countries.

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