Domino's eyes further gains

DOMINO&rsquo;S , the pizza delivery chain, yesterday showed it was slicing its way through the downturn, reporting a 25.2 per cent jump in pre-tax profit to &pound;13.6m from &pound;10.9m a year earlier, as the trend for dining at home shows no signs of abating.<br /><br />Sales at the pizza chain are booming, with like-for-like sales up by seven per cent for the six months to 28 June, making the group one of the few winners in the recession. The group yesterday increased its dividend by 29.6 per cent to 3.5p a share.<br /><br />The company, which runs 576 stores throughout the UK, said that it had been boosted from its sponsorship of the television show Britain&rsquo;s Got Talent. It also said it has taken advantage of the current slump in advertising costs to heavily promote short term offers, without hitting profit margins.<br /><br />Chief executive Chris Moore said that the group&rsquo;s success showed &ldquo;no sign of losing its appetite&rdquo; and said it was &ldquo;on track to exceed market expectations for the full year&rdquo;. The group&rsquo;s confidend statement and strong balance sheet yesterday boosted the shares by seven per cent to 235.25p.<br /><br />Moore said the hot weather has had an impact on the business, but said sales would start to lift after prolonged periods of warm weather &ldquo;and the lure of the barbecue fades&rdquo;.<br /><br />The group opened 23 stores in the course of the year, and yesterday reaffirmed it was on track to smash its target of 1,000 stores by 2017.<br /><br />Domino&rsquo;s has recently rolled out a mobile unit to serve hungry festival-goers. It said the response had so far been positive, and it achieved record sales for the number of pizzas sold in one day.<br /><br />Domino&rsquo;s recently launched a new line of pizzas including piri piri chicken pizza and hot cookies, which have also boosted sales.