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As previously noted, November comparable sales were favorably impacted and December comparable sales negatively impacted by the inclusion of the Thanksgiving holiday in Period 12 this year versus Period 11 last year. The company estimates that this timing difference negatively impacted December 2002 domestic systemwide comparable sales by approximately 2.9 percent. On a combined basis, which eliminates the impact of the timing of the Thanksgiving holiday, comparable sales for the nine weeks comprising our Period 11 and Period 12 decreased 1.3 percent (composed of a 1.9 percent increase at company-owned restaurants and a 2.3 percent decrease at franchise restaurants).
Total systemwide international sales decreased 4.5 percent, on a constant U.S. dollar basis, over the comparable period last year. Due to political and economic uncertainties in Venezuela, all 22 franchised Papa John's restaurants in that country remained closed throughout the entire period, resulting in the year-over-year international sales decrease. Excluding sales results for Venezuela in both periods, total systemwide international sales increased 4.9 percent, on a constant U.S. dollar basis, over the comparable period last year.
Domestic systemwide comparable sales decreased 2.0 percent for the quarter ended December 29, 2002 (composed of a 0.4 percent increase at company-owned restaurants and a 2.8 percent decrease at franchise restaurants), and decreased 1.3 percent for full year 2002 (composed of a 0.2 percent increase at company-owned restaurants and a 1.8 percent decrease at franchise restaurants). Total systemwide international sales increased 1.5 percent for the quarter and 5.6 percent for the full year, on a constant U.S. dollar basis, over the comparable periods last year. Excluding Period 12 sales results for Venezuela, total systemwide international sales increased 5.2 percent for the quarter and 6.6 percent for the full year, on a constant U.S. dollar basis, over the comparable periods last year.
"I'm proud of our corporate operations team for achieving positive comp sales in 2002 in a very competitive sales environment," said Papa John's Founder and CEO John Schnatter. "This is a tribute to their intense focus on product quality and the customer experience, an absolute must in this environment. As we begin the new year, we hope our franchisees will likewise intensify their focus on total operational excellence in what we expect will continue to be a very challenging environment."
The company also announced that Daniel Cousineau has been appointed Managing Director of Papa John's/Perfect Pizza operations in the United Kingdom, replacing Tony Sherriff who has resigned to pursue other interests. During 1998-99, Cousineau served as Divisional Vice President of Domino's Pizza International, responsible for franchise operations in Europe and the Middle East. From 1996 to 1998, Cousineau served as Vice President of Domino's Pizza International, overseeing purchasing, distribution and development for the company's franchise operations in Europe, Latin America and Asia.