Recession delivers gain for growing Domino’s

Domino’s Pizza UK & Ireland is to press ahead with expansion plans in 2012 as it benefits from cash-strapped consumers eating its pizzas at home rather than dining out.

The company yesterday reported a 3.5% rise in first-quarter like-for-like sales at its 660 established stores, and said it was sticking to plans to open 72 stores in 2012.

But Domino’s had found trading in Ireland tougher, after the economy here suffered the deepest recession in the industrialised world.

Domino’s, which operates the British and Irish franchises of the global delivery brand, was helped by a recovery in Ireland, where sales rose 1.7% after a 10.5% fall in the same quarter last year.

The company has performed well in Britain during the economic downturn as consumers shunned eating out and instead ordered from its range of pizzas.

“Although they are just part of the growth story, it is good to see our like-for-like sales continue to increase,” said Domino’s chief executive Lance Batchelor.

“It is especially pleasing to see sales in the Republic of Ireland return to positive territory.”

Domino’s reported growth in its online business in the first quarter, with a 44.5% increase in total online sales to £59.3m (€71.4m).

“The really interesting thing about this is that the company have now delivered 51% of [British] orders online,” said Paul Hickman, an analyst at Peel Hunt.

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