Takeaways specialist Domino’s has seen sales surge as Britons treated themselves to pizzas in lockdown.
The company posted a 5.5% increase in revenues to £628.9 million in the 26 weeks to June 28, but profits fell, off 4.6% to £47.6 million. Earnings took a knock as the company shelled out £3.4 millon on personal protective equipment to prevent the spread of Covid.
The company said: "We made investments and incurred costs to ensure that we traded safely and supported our franchisees, and whilst that impacted our first half profitability it was undoubtedly the right thing to do. "
The results are the first under new boss Dominic Paul, who was appointed as lockdown began in late March and took up the role in May.
Paul is the former chief executive of Cosa Coffee, and led its £3.9 billion sale to Coca-Cola last year, after three years in the job. He hs also held senior positions at Royal Caribbean Cruise Line easyJet, British Midland and British Airways.
Paul dubbed trading "resilient", adding: "The macroeconomic, consumer and competitive backdrop for the second half of the year contain considerable uncertainties. Our system demonstrated responsiveness and agility in meeting the challenges presented through the lockdown period, although that did come at some inevitable and, in certain areas considerable, incremental costs. While trading in the first few weeks of the second half has been encouraging, it is too early to conclude on how consumer behaviour will evolve.
"We look forward to the remainder of the financial year, and to the long-term future of the business, with confidence in the strength of the brand and our operations."
Paul will hope to move the company on from a tumultuous period under former boss David Wild, who became entangled in a profit sharing row with the chain’s franchisees. He also began the sell-off of the group’s loss-making international operations.
Paul told the Standard he had visited franchisees and stores since joining Domino’s in May. “I have been incredibly impressed by how our franchisees have operated throughout the Covid crisis,” he said.
Emma-Lou Montgomery of Fidelity said: “The decision to pay the deferred 2019 dividend will go some way to appease shareholders, but the lack of an interim payout amid the clear warning that the road ahead is very uncertain will, no doubt, leave investors with a nasty taste in their mouths.”
Domino’s shares were off the menu — down 7.8p at 317.2p.
Paul joined alongside new chairman Matt Shattock and interim finance chief Neil Smith, who in April replaced David Bauernfeind who died in a snorkelling accident last year.
He said the company had been working to make menus more healthy and react to a trend towards healthier eating, as the Government cracks down on Britain's obesity crisis.