Pledge to create more jobs as Domino’s effect gathers pace

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DOMINO’S Pizza has pledged to create 1,800 jobs in 2012, including around 200 in Yorkshire, by growing its number of stores across the UK.

Domino’s, which already has 36 stores in Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, plans to open another six stores in the region this year.

A spokesman confirmed that one of the new stores will be in Hull Road in York.

Georgina Wald, the head of corporate communications at Domino’s Pizza, said the company had enjoyed a “bumper night” on Valentine’s Day.

She said the company had benefited from the fact that many Britons had invested in their ‘home environment’, which included spending cash on larger televisions.

“Our main customers are families, because pizzas are for sharing,’’ she added. “Domino’s is a treat. We’re not a daily meal replacement. Every new store creates around 30 jobs.”

She said Domino’s wanted England to do well in the European football championships this summer, because the team’s success would probably lead to higher pizza sales.

A surge in online pizza orders from Britons staying at home during the economic downturn lifted the company’s profits.

The launch of mobile phone apps, which allow customers to choose a pizza from their smartphones, helped to drive a 43 per cent rise in orders over the internet last year.

These now account for 44 per cent of total orders with some shops taking three-quarters online, the company said yesterday.

“The rise of e-commerce in our business has been breathtaking,” said chief executive Lance Batchelor.

Domino’s, which operates the British and Irish franchises of the global brand, said pre-tax profit, excluding start-up losses at its German business, rose 14.6 per cent to £43.6m in the year to December 25, 2011.

This figure beat analysts’ estimates.

Domino’s said it had also benefited from more people staying at home and treating themselves to take-away food rather than eating out at restaurants or pubs.

“Giving people a treat when the world is a bit grey is something we do extremely well,” said Mr Batchelor.

“There’s no doubt it’s a very tough trading environment and we’ve seen no sign of an uplift yet.”

He added: “I am excited and optimistic about the future and, with the support of our franchisees, we will continue to grow this outstanding business by focusing on opening new stores, testing new store formats and developing new products while always ensuring the customer is at the heart of everything we do.”

Sales at shops open more than a year were up three per cent last year. Sales rose 3.7 per cent in the first seven weeks of this year.

These sales were also boosted by the launch of products such as a more upmarket ‘Gourmet’ range, the company said.

Domino’s opened 62 shops last year to bring the total to 726.

Finance director Lee Ginsberg said it would like to accelerate expansion from its target of 60 stores a year, but it was held back by planning restrictions.

Domino’s opened its first six stores in Germany last year and expects to add 12 this year.

It believes the business could eventually become twice the size of its British operation.

Domino’s opened one store in Yorkshire last year, at Wath-on-Dearne in South Yorkshire, which employs 25 staff.

greg.wright@ypn.co.uk