Pizza chain serves up reversal in sales

The Irish division of pizza delivery company Domino’s generated operating profits of £4.4m (€5m) last year, with sales stabilising after two years of significant decline.

Domino’s said last month that sales across its 48 stores in the Republic, as well as online, fell by 4% in the final quarter of 2012. However, on a full-year basis, 2012 saw a 0.2% drop in sales for the Irish unit. This followed a 4.1% decline in 2011 and an 8.4% fall in 2010.

The Milton Keynes-based business paid tribute to the hard work of its Irish franchisees for the improved result here, despite the tough economic environment.

Even though Domino’s Irish sales were down more than 30% from their peak, in 2007, only one of the company’s Irish stores has closed during the period.

Lance Batchelor, Domino’s chief executive, said the company is continuing to outperform its competitors. “Ireland continues to be a very tough trading environment. We have worked closely with our Irish franchisees during the last year and I have been really impressed with their tenacity. After almost four years of an Irish downturn, only one of the 49 Irish Domino’s stores has closed. Our competitors have suffered much more,” he said.

Mr Batchelor reiterated the company’s long-term commitment to Ireland — despite the fact that it has no growth plans for this market for the foreseeable future. “No one can confidently predict the turn of the economic tide in Ireland, but when it comes, Domino’s Pizza will be ready and waiting.”

Domino’s — which trades in Britain, Ireland, and Germany — saw its annual pre-tax profits rise nearly 11%, to £46.7m. However, the recent heavy snow in Britain hit sales at the turn of this year, although online sales now make up nearly 56% of the company’s overall sales. Group sales increased 13%, to £598.6m, last year.

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