Sales last quarter budged ahead 6.7%, down from 8.5% the year before and even higher in the interim quarters.
The bigger issue was same-store sales. The company warned a quarter ago that they would be "less dramatic" against "our outstanding comp performance last year."
And they were, but with a twist: Same-store sales at company-owned locations (mostly in the U.S.) rose a mere 3.7% -- quite a come down from the prior quarter's 11.4% gain and the prior year's 7%.
At the same time, domestic franchise same-store sales growth, which had been running on par with company stores, remained fairly robust at 10.7%.
Why the discrepancy between company-owned and franchise stores in the U.S.?
When asked, the company offered up a number of vague explanations, including "outstanding" execution by franchises. But it really boils down to two things the company has blamed in recent years for slowdowns outside of the U.S.:
Cannibalization and something it calls the "honeymoon effect." That is, after stores have big openings, things calm down. That's what Krispy Kreme says happened last quarter in Charlotte.
Then there was the quality of same-stores sales, which left something to be desired: At company-owned stores most of the gains came from price increases.
That's a subtle but important change. A mere quarter ago the company was crowing about how its 10% gain was "even more impressive when considering that many of our QSR peers have experienced a noticeable slowdown in comp sale and traffic over the past several months."