Pizza chain hit by ‘belt-tightening’

DOMINO’S Pizza said sales were down in Ireland last year because the economy here was “much harder hit” than Britain.

The company, which has 45 stores in Ireland, said Irish consumers “tighten their belts” more than those in Britain.

Its stores were still profitable last year, it said, despite the sales drop. The company also plans to grow to around 68 outlets in the next five years. It is opening stores in Arklow, Gorey and Clonmel over the next six months.

“The performance of our stores in Ireland did not reflect the UK. Like-for-like sales were in negative territory,” said communications director Georgina Wald.

“The recession hit the Irish market harder than in the UK.

“We are still seeing good customer retention and loyalty but we hope the recession will end sooner rather than later.”

Domino’s, Britain’s largest pizza-delivery chain, reported an 8.4% sales gain at outlets open at least a year and said it will increase a store-opening target to 55 per year from 50.

Revenue for the year ended December 27 rose 14% to £155 million (€178m). Same-store sales increased 11% for the first six weeks in 2010. Domino’s opened 55 stores in the full year, up from 52 in 2008.

Chief financial officer, Lee Ginsberg said: “We’ve opened more stores than expected for a number of reasons, one is there is move availability of sites given the economic climate.”

Net income climbed to £33.5 million from £15.7 million for 2008. Operating profit rose 10% to £26.1 million.

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