Domino's lifted as weather bites

Pizza delivery chain Domino's has revealed a cold weather boost to sales as families opted to stay at home in the face of icy conditions.

Like-for-like sales were up by 6.6% in the 13 weeks to March 31 as the unseasonably cold spring conditions caused a surge in demand and helped it overcome a snow-hit start to the year.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
Sales growth had slowed to 1.6% in the first seven weeks of the quarter when January's snow and icy conditions forced nearly 500 shops to shut, but analysts at N+1 Singer said the latest figures indicated a 12.4% leap in the final six weeks.

Recent price promotions and the launch of new products, such as its hot dog stuffed crust, also provided a boost, according to Domino's.

Shares jumped 6% after the update and N+1 Singer analyst Sahill Shan praised a "strong" set of figures.

Domino's said orders via the internet increased again in the quarter, with nearly two thirds - 62% - made online. Delivery sales made across all online platforms rose 38.4% to £82.4 million, with a quarter of these made by smartphone.

But Domino's, which has 780 stores across the UK and Ireland, said it was braced for tougher conditions over the remainder of the year.

Chief executive Lance Batchelor said: "We know that the ongoing economic pressures are leading to a tough trading environment and we have extremely tough comparatives in the second quarter to overcome, as well as food cost increases coming through during the year."

The group holds the master franchise to own, operate and franchise Domino's Pizza outlets in the UK, Ireland, Switzerland and Germany, having opened its first UK store in Luton in 1985. It plans to open 60 franchised stores in the UK over 2013, having launched 56 last year.

The firm also aims to add another 18 stores across Germany , where it currently has a 20-strong chain, while it is overhauling its Swiss arm by revamping stores, retraining staff and relocating some outlets.
Read Full Story