Papa Murphy’s Holdings Inc.’s 19-quarter run of consecutive same-store sales increases ended in the fourth quarter, when same-store sales fell 3.1 percent. 

President and CEO Ken Calwell blamed the decline on a steep rise in same-store sales a year earlier, when the parent company of the Vancouver, Wash.-based take-and-bake chain introduced its Gourmet Delites line and saw same-store sales rise 8.4 percent at company-owned units and 4.3 percent at franchised locations.

“However, we continue to be encouraged by the performance of some of our less developed markets where comparable store sales growth outperformed the system average by over 500 basis points in the quarter,” Calwell said in a release announcing results for the quarter and full year ended Dec. 28, 2015.

“Our strategy of raising brand awareness in these underpenetrated markets by investing in advertising and building stores is resonating with the customer and that gives us and our franchisee partners even greater confidence as we accelerate new unit growth in those markets,” he said.

The chain saw 111 new restaurant openings during the year, including 46 units in the fourth quarter.

Revenue for the quarter rose 19.5 percent, to $33.8 million. Net income was $2.6 million, or 16 cents per share, falling from $2.8 million, or 17 cents per share, a year earlier. 

For the year, revenue rose 23.4 percent, to $120.2 million, and net income was $4.9 million, compared with $1.2 million in fiscal 2014.

Same store sales for the year increased 1.9 percent.

Looking forward to fiscal 2016, the company predicted systemwide same-store sales to rise about 2 percent to 3 percent. It expected to open 115 to 120 units, including 20 to 25 company-owned locations. 

Contact Bret Thorn at bret.thorn@penton.com.
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