Papa John’s International, Inc. (Nasdaq: PZZA) today announced that revenues for first quarter 2003 decreased 5.4% to $232.3 million from the same quarter in 2002. Net income was $11.1 million compared with $12.9 million in first quarter 2002.

Domestic comparable store sales fell a significant 4.9% in what the company noted as “competitive pricing and promotional activity within the delivery and carry-out pizza category, as well as overall weakness within the category.”

The one positive came in the form of a 1.7% gain in diluted earnings per share to $0.61 from $0.60 for the same period in 2002.

Papa John’s Founder and CEO John Schnatter noted, “When the category and economy improve, we believe Papa John’s should be well positioned to capture increased sales and market share.”

The company opened 26 new Papa John’s restaurants and closed 20 in the first quarter.

Given first quarter results, the company revised its 2003 EPS estimates from $2.40-2.48 to $2.20-2.26. It also expects lower sales and lowered domestic comps from the previous estimate of a 0-2.5% increase to a 2-4% decrease.

News, Papa Johns