Dominos reports 'steady' progress in Ireland where the casual dining market is 'booming'
Dominos Pizza said its progress in Ireland was "steady" last year, with a much stronger second half compensating for a slow start to the year.
During the year the company opened one new store here, taking its total to 50, achieved like-for-like growth of 4pc, according to its annual results.
"We still see ample opportunity to raise store numbers to 75 over time: the Irish economy has recovered strongly and the casual dining market is booming," the group said.
In November last year Dominos reached agreement to invest €12.5m for a 15pc stake in Shorecal, the Domino’s franchise business owned by the Caldwells, the largest Domino’s franchisee in Ireland.
This was part of a wider transaction in which the group invested alongside a private investor that took a 34pc stake.
Shorecal will open 10 new stores on the island of Ireland (of which six will be in the Republic of Ireland) over the next four years.
Overall, and the group's results showed a mixed performance, with the woes in its international arm offsetting an otherwise robust showing from the UK and Ireland, where like-for-like sales rose 4.6pc in the two markets.
The group posted a 22pc plunge in annual pre-tax profits to £61.9m (€72m) after suffering "growing pains" in its international business.
On an underlying basis pre-tax profits dropped 1.1pc to £93.4m (€108m) for the year to December 30.
Domino's warned in January that profits would be at the lower end of expectations following weaker international sales and business integration challenges in Norway.
But chief executive David Wild said he expects the international division to break even in 2019.
The international arm saw underlying losses of £4.1m (€4.7m) in 2018, with Switzerland, Norway and Sweden all continuing to be loss-making.
(Additional reporting PA)