Recession won’t stop carb-hungry Brits from getting their pizza fix. No sir. The pizza takeaway chain Domino’s has reported UK like-for-like sales up 3.7% for Q3 this year, compared with the same period in 2011. These figures exclude exceptional items, but if you include the impact of new stores, the picture is even rosier. Total sales for the Domino’s group rose 7.9% to £136.4m.
So what’s making the difference? Well, a massive portion of the company’s sales now comes from online orders. The firm says that e-commerce sales rose by 39% to £62.8m for the quarter compared with 2011, with orders from mobile phones accounting for a fifth of those sales. A total of 58% of Domino’s orders are now processed from online customers. Presumably the strategy is not to save on staffing costs, but to up-sell. Flogging side dishes and other recommendations to customers when they’re already on the site has to be easier than actually finding new customers. Especially when many of them are already over-refreshed.
In addition, the chain opened 11 new stores in the UK, Republic of Ireland and Germany in Q3, taking the total so far in 2012 to 34 new openings. Just two days ago, the firm also completed the acquisition of Domino’s Switzerland, adding a further 12 stores to the portfolio, as well as gaining exclusive rights to develop the market in Switzerland, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein. Who knew all those billionaires and offshore tax havens were such a ready market for greasy pizzas?
The group’s chief executive, Lance Batchelor, said: ‘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.’ Very nice, Lance, but we don’t know about ‘innovative marketing’. Any company with a strap line that reads ‘It’s what we do,’ is hardly the paragon of progress…
Still, Lance says the fourth quarter is traditionally the firm’s strongest trading period, so with the extra fire power of those new stores, MT reckons the Q4 results will be strong, too. We might get a Domino’s in for lunch, thinking of it. Mid-week treat.