Extra topping for Domino's Pizza profits

Pizza firm Domino's today said strong sales driven by demand from fans of the World Cup and ITV show 'Britain's Got Talent' helped half-year profits jump 28%.

The group posted like-for-like sales growth of 13.7% in the 26 weeks to June 27, leading to better-than-expected pre-tax profits of £17.5m (€20.84m).

Domino's, which was further helped by offers such as its Two for Tuesday promotion, also maintained expansion plans with the opening of 19 new stores during the period, bringing its UK and Ireland total to 627.

The company holds the master franchise to own, operate and franchise Domino's Pizza stores in the UK and Ireland. The first Irish store opened in 1991, the first UK store opened in Luton in 1985.

The group plugged its best-selling Pepperoni Passion pizza on ITV1 before England's clashes with the USA and Algeria - encouraging viewers to order a pizza before kick off for delivery at half-time - as well as running adverts on radio station TalkSport and online promotions through Facebook.

It has just completed its third year of sponsorship of 'Britain's Got Talent' and has also benefited from faster delivery times as well as favourable comparisons with weaker trading last year.

Chief executive Chris Moore said: "It is easy to try and attribute our success to one thing - be it the weather, or 'Britain's Got Talent', or the World Cup - but the underlying trend shows a more compelling picture."

Domino's, which remains on track to open 55 new stores this year, warned of much tougher sales comparisons in the second half of 2010.

Customers are also logging on in growing numbers to order takeaways, the firm added. Internet pizza sales are up more than 60% on a year earlier at £56.9m (€67.77m) and now account for almost 33% of delivered sales.

The firm's new, bigger base for manufacturing ingredients opened at West Ashland in Milton Keynes at the end of June.

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