Domino's expects bigger slice of annual profits

By James Sillars, Business Reporter
Domino's Pizza has raised its annual profit forecast following a stronger rise in sales than it had expected during its fourth quarter.
The pizza delivery chain said new store openings in the UK and slightly weaker investment than had been planned helped offset the impact of discounting in the 13 weeks to 31 December.
As a result, it now expected underlying pre-tax profits for the year to come in above market consensus of almost €90m on a 52-week basis.Shares closed 1.4% higher following the trading update.Domino's, which also operates in six other European nations but largely focuses on the UK, reported a record 95 new store openings over the year in its home market.Group sales over the quarter rose 18% while comparable sales were up 6.1% in the UK.Domino's said the start of the X Factor final on 2 December was the "catalyst for our biggest day of sales for the year" - with sales up 25% over the average Saturday across the year.
The results reflected a better-than-expected performance for the chain - given its warning last spring that customers were worried about rising prices as Brexit-linked inflation took hold in 2017.Chief executive David Wild said: "We are pleased to report a good performance in Q4, completing another year of significant progress and growth for Domino's."With a record year for new store openings and continued like-for-like sales increases, the UK business has demonstrated its resilience in a challenging economic and competitive environment.
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"Our international operations are growing in scale and benefiting from our expertise in supply chain and digital."We expect full year underlying profit before tax to be slightly above the current range of market expectations."
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