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Domino's sells 26 units to franchisee

Domino’s Pizza Inc. said Monday it has sold 26 corporate stores in Minneapolis to local franchisee Ultimate Challenge LLC, making it the chain’s third-largest franchise operator in the United States, with 73 locations in six states.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. With the sale, Domino’s said it has reduced its corporate-store count to 429 domestic units, which accounts for less than 5 percent of its 9,351 restaurants worldwide.

Ultimate Challenge, led by Bill Graves, operates Domino’s restaurants in Minnesota, Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

“The strength of Domino’s Pizza is its franchise system,” said Scott Hinshaw, executive vice president of franchise operations and development for Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Domino’s. “With nearly 1,200 franchisees in markets around the world, we’ve found that local, hands-on leadership is crucial to our success. Throughout our history, we have strategically refranchised corporate stores where it makes sense. Minneapolis is an important market for us, and we are pleased that Bill Graves has decided to further invest in this market with this purchase. We are confident he can help make Domino’s Pizza the dominant player in Minneapolis.”

At its most recent investor conference in December, Domino’s forecast only “modest” domestic growth in 2011 and between 250 and 300 new restaurants in international markets. The chain also said it expects same-store sales growth between 3 percent and 5 percent for its international system and between 1 percent and 3 percent for its U.S. locations.

Contact Mark Brandau at [email protected].


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