Domino's Pizza emerged as an unlikely competitor to the traditional turkey, stuffing and pigs in blankets over the festive period, with the chain selling a pizza every 12 seconds in the run-up to Christmas.
But despite this, the fast food giant's shares were down nine per cent this morning as it admitted European growing pains were hurting its profits.
The company broke all its previous records to sell 535,000 pizzas on the Friday before Christmas, it said in a trading update this morning, driving final quarter profits up 5.5 per cent year on year.
British customers ate their way through £312.9m worth of Dominos’ pizza and snacks in the last three months of 2018, representing a 4.5 per cent like-for-like sales growth, while the company opened 25 new stores in the UK and Ireland over the period.
Online sales in the UK were up 10.8 per cent, representing a record 80.1 per cent of sales during the period.
The night of BBC prime time TV show the Strictly Come Dancing Final on Saturday 15 December, Domino's sales were up 25 per cent compared to the same day the year before.
But the pizza maker’s core UK market was topped with less-than-savoury international results, with sales outside Britain and Ireland falling two per cent year-on-year to £26.6m.
Sales were affected by bad weather across Europe, the firm said, and in Norway it was hit with “business integration challenges” which it expects to push it into the red for its international business.
Losses are expected to be between £3m and £4m for the year, but the company hopes a plan to invest in infrastructure will help it break even in 2019. Domino's admitted, however, that the plan would take a slice out of its short-term profitability.
David Wild, the firm's chief executive, said: “Our international businesses offer significant long term potential, but we have experienced growing pains this year, particularly in Norway, where we have faced business integration challenges.
"Looking ahead, we will invest further in robust teams and infrastructure in our newer markets, to create a solid platform for profitable growth.”
Ed Monk, associate director at Fidelity, said the firm was "finding it harder to convert continental diners than British ones. It was again the international business that lagged, managing just 1.6 per cent growth once currency effects were accounted for, and a 2 per cent loss including currency swings."