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Domino's Pizza Inc. (DPZ - Get Report) posted weaker-than-expected third quarter earnings Tuesday, while same-store sales disappointed analysts, as fierce competition in the food delivery market continues to hit the sector's bottom line.

Domino's said earnings for the three months ending in September came in at $2.05 per share, up 5.1% from the same period last year but 3 cents shy of the Street consensus forecast. Group sales, Domino's said, rose 4.4% to $820.8 million, again falling short of analysts' estimates of a $823.2 million tally.

Same store sales, Domino's said, rose just 2.4% from last year, the slowest pace of growth in more than four years, and notably missed the Refinitiv forecast of 2.84%. Domino's also said it sees U.S. same-store sales growing between 2% and 5%, and international comps rising between 1% and 4%, over the next two years; both figures are reductions form a prior forecast of between 3% and 6%.

"It was a good quarter for Domino's, as we continue to lean on our fundamental strength against a unique competitive environment," said CEO Ritch Allison. "Strong unit growth and positive comps yielded a solid and balanced quarter of retail sales growth across both the U.S. and international businesses."

"We remain steadfastly focused on driving profitable growth for the Domino's system, and most importantly, for our franchisees," he added.

Shares in the group did some support, however, by its plans to buyback $1 billion worth of shares as part of a broader return of nearly $27 million to investors over the third quarter though its 65 cents per share dividend.

Domino's shares were marked 1% higher by mid-morning trading in New York Tuesday to change hands at $244.63 each, a move that would leave the stock with  a year-to-date decline of around 3%.