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Pizza Hut 'not seeing any impact' from NFL protests on pizza sales

  • Papa John's said Wednesday that the combination of declining NFL viewership and negative consumer sentiment associated with the league caused sales to slump.
  • Pizza Hut said Thursday that it is "not seeing any impact" from NFL player protests on its business.
Source: Pizza Hut

While Papa John's was quick to blame the NFL for lackluster sales at its pizza restaurants during the third quarter, Pizza Hut is singing a different tune.

On Wednesday, Papa John's, which has been the official pizza sponsor of the league since 2010, said the combination of declining NFL viewership and negative consumer sentiment associated with the league caused its sales to slump. Some football fans have been critical of NFL players who have been protesting during the national anthem.

In North America, Papa John's same-store sales grew 1 percent, falling short of analyst expectations for a 1.4 percent rise, according to Street Account. And the company said it expects this trend to continue into the next quarter.

However, Pizza Hut, the pizza division of Yum Brands, said Thursday that it is "not seeing any impact" from NFL player protests on its business in the third or fourth quarters of this year.

In fact, sales at Pizza Hut are doing quite well. On Thursday the brand posted its fifth consecutive quarter of positive same-store sales growth. The brand saw growth of 1 percent, exceeding forecasts for a 0.7 percent decline in the third quarter.

"We're not seeing any impact from any of that on our business," the company said during an earnings conference call Thursday.

Yum said that live sporting events, including baseball, college football and the NFL were important to its business. Pizza Hut is the official sponsor of the NCAA.

Pizza Hut is in the midst of an effort to reinvigorate its performance. Yum announced plans in April to invest $130 million into Pizza Hut restaurants to upgrade equipment and boost marketing spending.