Domino's Pizza ( DPZ) reported on Thursday a 69% increase in first-quarter earnings, as the company reduced its debt. Earnings during the quarter reached $23.8 million, or 41 cents a share, from $14.1 million, or 23 cents, in the year-ago period. Excluding a gain of about $21.2 million related to debt retirement, the pizza company earned 20 cents a share, beating analysts' expectations of 20 cents a share. Domino's had approximately $1.7 billion in debt at the end of the quarter. Sales declined 5% to $321.8 million from $339 million as the strong dollar hindered global sales. Domestic sales at stores open at least a year edged up 1%, while international same-store sales grew 6.6%. Pizza sellers have been trying to find ways to rev up sales as more consumers are preparing meals at home to save money. Last week rival Yum Brands ( YUM), parent company of Pizza Hut, said its first-quarter profit declined 14% due to the stronger dollar. In particular, the company said KFC and Pizza Hut sales were hurt by sluggish dinner business as fewer consumers are eating out.