Domino’s Pizza profit rises

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PIZZA delivery firm Domino’s Pizza said widespread snow had hit its UK sales at the start of 2013, after it posted an 11 per cent rise in annual profit.

The company, which operates the British, Irish and German franchises of the global delivery brand, said today pre-tax profit for the year to December 30 was £46.7m, up 10.8 per cent on a year ago, and in line with market forecasts.

New stores and strong online growth helped sales at shops open more than a year rise 5.0 per cent in 2012, up from a 3.7 per cent rise a year earlier, the firm said.

However, poor weather and heavy snow had hit progress at the start of 2013 with 498 UK stores forced to close at some point. Underlying sales were up 1.6 per cent in the first seven weeks, compared with 3.8 per cent a year before.

Domino’s promotion-led offers and popular online ordering service have chimed well with cash-strapped British consumers opting for cheaper nights in over more expensive dining out.

The firm said online sales now made up 55.7 per cent of UK delivered sales, up from 44.3 per cent a year ago, with almost 20 per cent of those orders coming via mobile devices.

Domino’s opened a record 69 shops in the period to bring the total to 805 stores in four countries at the end of 2012.

The group has been expanding in Europe in recent years, acquiring franchise rights to operate in Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein. It also has an option to open in Austria in 2014.

It said it was making good progress in Germany, a business it sees growing to twice the size of its British operations, adding that it expects to hit profit there by the end of 2015.

Shares in the firm closed at 537.5 pence on Friday, up 17 per cent on a year ago, valuing the business at around £880m.