Domino's grab a slice of the X Factor action
Pizza firm Domino's said full-year profits would beat City expectations after hit shows like The X Factor kept customers glued to their seats at home and ensured an end-of-year boost for deliveries.
The company said popular Saturday night TV shows, such as Strictly Come Dancing, helped lift sales by 10.3% on a like-for-like basis in the 13 weeks to December 26 as more consumers stayed in and ordered pizza.
The firm said heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures in December were a mixed blessing as customers stayed warm indoors and ordered food, but occasionally the conditions hindered deliveries.
The company, which currently has 665 mostly franchised stores in the UK, recorded sales of £132.5m in the fourth quarter, and £485.3m for the year.
Domino's has had a strong year with stellar summer sales driven by demand from World Cup fans and viewers of ITV show Britain's Got Talent, which it has sponsored for three successive years.
Delivery services, as well as supermarkets, have benefited from the trend of the 'big night in', which has seen consumers indulging on affordable treats at home rather than heading out on the town.
Domino's also reported a 63% rise in online sales in the year to December 26, while orders placed through its iPhone application, launched in September, crossed the £1m mark. Special offers such as the 'two for Tuesday' deal also contributed to the strong performance.
A spokeswoman for Domino's Pizza said any major TV events are good for business - The X-Factor drew almost 20m viewers earlier this month - as they kept people at home.
The company continued expansion plans in the year to December 26, opening a record 57 new stores, including the first Domino's stores on the Isle of Man and Isle of Wight.
Chris Moore, chief executive of Domino's UK, said: "We have again finished the year with a like-for-like performance that is ahead of expectations and, together with the improvements in our operational gearing, I am delighted to announce that the company will deliver full-year 2010 profits ahead of current City expectations."
The update prompted Numis Securities to upgrade its forecast for annual profits in 2010 to £37.7m, from £36.5m.