Domino's back on track with sales boost
Struggling Domino's Pizza stores in Ireland appear to have turned a corner, with a dramatic three-year sales slide having been stemmed in the first few weeks of 2012.
Releasing full-year results for 2011, the UK-listed company that controls the brand here said that like-for-like sales in Ireland rose 2.3pc in the first seven weeks of this year. They had fallen 8.4pc in 2010 as consumers cut spending in the face of the downturn.
Domino's Pizza UK & Ireland chief executive Lance Batchelor said that while the economic backdrop remained challenging in its main markets, the sales uptick in Ireland so far this year was encouraging.
"I am encouraged to see a gradual slowdown in the decline, although we are now up against some easier comparative figures," he added.
Overall, the group reported a 12pc rise in revenue to £210m (€251.7m) for 2011, while pre-tax profits were up 10pc at £38.8m (€46.5m). Total sales across the store network rose over 9pc to £530.6m (€637.1m). Online sales surged.
Sales last year in Ireland fell 4.1pc -- more than half the rate of decline experienced by the chain in 2010. But despite the fall in sales, Domino's said that Ireland still boasted outlets with the highest average weekly sales for the pizza chain's stores outside the United States. An outlet in Tallaght, Dublin, has consistently been rumoured to be among the busiest in the world.
Domino's had even been forced to provide financial assistance to some franchises here in 2010, but didn't give any handouts last year.
Mr Batchelor said that the company's sponsorship of TV shows such as 'X-Factor', 'I'm a Celebrity' and 'Dancing on Ice', helped to cement brand awareness here. New products, such as a speciality pizza range that was promoted by Irish celebrity chef Andrew Rudd, also enabled it to outperform its competition, added Mr Batchelor.
One Irish store, in Portlaoise, was closed during the year. It had been opened with the intention that it could serve a new housing estate that was to be built but which never materialised.
"The development was cancelled due to the Irish economic situation, leaving the store in something of a ghost town," said Mr Batchelor.
The chain opened one outlet here last year.