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Domino's Pizza Earnings Tumble 55 Percent

Domino's Pizza posted a 55 percent drop in third-quarter profit Tuesday, weighed down by cost pressures and weak consumer spending, sending its shares down as much as 12 percent.

Net income fell to $10.99 million, or 17 cents per share, in the quarter ended Sep. 9 from $24.5 million, or 39 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Analysts, on average, were expecting 23 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Cost pressures and weak consumer spending hurt domestic sales, and "made striking the right balance between increasing prices, while operating in a period of declining traffic, very difficult," Chief Executive David Brandon said in a statement.

Higher food costs also hurt income in the quarter, the company said.

In the past, Brandon has pointed to rising labor, energy, commodities and food costs and forecast "a material price increase in the pizza category."

The pizza delivery chain's quarterly revenue rose 3.2 percent to $337.3 million, boosted by higher international sales.

International same-store sales rose 8.3 percent in the quarter, Domino's said.

The company also reported that its board and Brandon were negotiating the terms of a three-year employment agreement through 2010 for the CEO.

Domino's shares were down $1.56, or 9.4 percent at $15 after falling as low as $14.50 on the New York Stock Exchange.