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Domino’s Pizza Sales Hit by Ireland Slump; Shares Fall

Domino’s Pizza U.K. & Ireland Plc, the U.K.’s biggest pizza-delivery company, said growth in sales in the first quarter was slowed by a slump at outlets in Ireland. The stock fell the most in more than two months.

Sales at 608 outlets open at least a year rose 4.2 percent in the 13 weeks to March 30 compared with 10.5 percent at 553 stores a year earlier, the Milton Keynes, England-based company said in a Regulatory News Service statement today.

Sales at Irish outlets open at least a year fell 10.5 percent, while sales at U.K. outlets rose 5.5 percent. Sales of food through Domino’s own outlets, known as system sales, grew 11.2 percent to 132.3 million pounds ($212 million).

“The overall group numbers, were, however, held back by the very difficult trading environment in the Republic of Ireland which contributes 7.4 percent of our system sales,” Chief Executive Chris Moore said in the statement. “We are up against some very challenging comparatives for the rest of the year, especially in the second quarter.”

The company, which plans to open 60 outlets in 2011, said it is well placed for further strong growth this year. Online first-quarter sales rose 63 percent to 41.3 million pounds.

Domino shares fell as much as 11 percent, and closed down 4.2 percent to 427.2 pence at the 4:30 p.m. close in London trading today, the biggest decline since Jan. 20.

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