LONDON (SHARECAST) - Going up against tough comparatives from a year ago and without the help of the couch potato heaven that is the European football tournament which the second quarter enjoyed, pizza delivery firm Domino's Pizza saw like-for-like sales growth slow in the third quarter.
System sales for the 13 weeks to September 23rd were up by 7.9% to £136.4m from £127.0m in the corresponding period of last year, with year to date system sales up by 10.0% to £424.1m (2011: £385.4m).
Like-for-like sales in the 660 mature stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland continued to grow. In the UK only, like-for-like (LFL) sales for the period were up by 3.7%, versus 4.1% the year before and 5.7% in the first six months of the financial year. LFL sales in euros for the Republic of Ireland were down 2.1%, an improvement on the 4.1% decline seen in the corresponding period of last year but a reversal of the 2.9% increase in LFL sales seen in the first half of the current financial year.
Year to date, UK like-for-like sales have risen by 5.1%, a step up from a 3.6% increase in the first nine months of the previous financial year, and in the Republic of Ireland they are up by 1.2% in euros (2011: down 5.6%).
Credit Suisse reckoned the firm would achieve like-for-like sales growth of 3.5%, down from 6.9% in the second quarter.
Online sales also continue to increase, with e-commerce accounting for 58.4% of UK delivered sales in the reporting period, up from 46.5% in the corresponding 13 week period of 2011.
Total online sales for the period rose by 39.3% to £62.8m from £44.8m the year before, and have reached £184.9m for the year to date (2011: £129.9m). Within this figure, mobile sales continue to rise sharply, up by 46.9%, and now account for 18.5% of total online sales.
The group said it remains on track to reach its target of 60 new store openings in the UK in the current financial year, despite hurdles slowing the expansion rate in the third quarter. The group is also on track to hit its target of 12 new German outlets this financial year.
The German business continues to progress well and the group is optimistic about its prospects in Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg after its recent acquisition of Domino's Switzerland.
"We continue to set ourselves ambitious targets but believe that a great product, supported by exemplary customer service and innovative marketing will deliver strong growth in the years to come," said Lance Batchelor, Chief Executive of the group.
"We approach the fourth quarter, traditionally our strongest trading period, with continued optimism and determination. We have exciting marketing initiatives in place across our markets and we are confident of meeting City consensus earnings for the full year," Batchelor added.