Domino’s profit, U.S. comps rise in 1Q

ANN ARBOR Mich. Domino’s Pizza Inc. posted Thursday a 68-percent increase in first-quarter profit on a gain from reduced debt and the first domestic positive same-store sales result in nearly two years.

For the quarter ended March 22, Domino’s earned $23.8 million, or 41 cents per share, compared with earnings of $14.1 million, or 23 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.

In the latest quarter, Domino’s retired about $43.3 million in debt at a discount, resulting in a gain of $21.2 million, the company reported. Domino’s currently holds about $1.7 billion in debt.

First-quarter revenue for the operator of franchisor of 8,729 restaurants fell 5.1 percent to $321.8 million. Domino’s cited the sale of corporate stores and what it called “continued efforts on exiting underperforming franchisees from the system.” The company posted 44 net closures in the first quarter.

Overseas, where sales remain strong with a first-quarter same-store sales gain of 6.6 percent, revenues were negatively affected by a strengthening U.S. dollar. Finally, lower cheese prices resulted in lower domestic supply-chain revenues, Domino’s said.

Still, Domino’s gained some traction at home, with domestic same-store sales up 1 percent in the first quarter. The company said this was the first quarter in nearly two years that domestic sales trends had turned positive. It attributed the improvement to the introduction of the Oven Baked Sandwiches and its Domino’s American Legends line of pizzas. In the first quarter last year, domestic same-store sales fell 5.2 percent.

“This is a very good sign,” chairman and chief executive David Brandon said in a statement, “and a strong indication that our domestic franchise system is starting to regain some positive sales momentum.”

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] [3].