April 2, 2014 11:39 am

Digital orders dominate at Domino’s Pizza

A Domino’s Pizza employee places a pizza in an oven conveyor©Bloomberg

Domino’s Pizza Group now makes nearly 70 per cent of its sales over the internet as the pizza group benefits from its early push into online ordering.

A third of the FTSE 250 group’s online orders come via mobile – up from a quarter last year – as the takeaway sector’s shift to digital shows few signs of abating.

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Domino’s digital success comes as online takeaway group Just Eat looks to float at £1.5bn, or more than 15 times its revenues last year.

The strong online figures came as growing sales in the UK helped to mitigate the group’s shaky start in Germany.

The group said on Wednesday that Like-for-like sales in the UK leapt 10.8 per cent for the 13 weeks to 30 March thanks in part to a range of meal deals. The pizza chain has shifted its German stores to a wholly franchise model, in line with the rest of the group, after its directly managed German restaurants struggled to get off the ground, triggering a profit warning in the division last summer.

System sales across the group jumped 14.8 per cent to £188.5m, with the group lifted by a weak trading period in corresponding quarter last year.

The jump in like-for-like sales in the UK should result in improved margins, according to analysts at Numis.

“This should encourage stronger expansion and marketing, driving up system sales and advertising, in a virtuous circle,” said analyst Douglas Jack.

Shares in Domino’s rose 0.6 per cent to 561p.

Domino’s is on track to open between 40 and 50 new stores this year, according to interim chief executive David Wild.

The pizza group is still on the hunt for a permanent chief executive, after former chief executive Lance Batchelor was snapped up by Saga, the over-50s travel and insurance group, late last year.

Domino’s chairman said that the process was “well advanced” with an announcement coming in the “near future”.

The search for a successor to outgoing chief executive of Frankie & Benny’s owner Restaurant Group is, however, now over. Danny Breithaupt, who is managing director of the group’s leisure business, will replace long-serving chief executive Andrew Page this summer.

Restaurant Group chairman Alan Jackson said: “Danny is a highly experienced, senior member of the company’s executive team and has been instrumental in developing and steering our leisure business to its current market leading position.”

Shares in Restaurant Group, which have risen 50 per cent in the past 12 months, were up 0.3 per cent to 702p.

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