Domino's quarterly sales beat as pandemic boosts pizza demand

Oct 8 (Reuters) - Domino’s Pizza Inc reported a better-than-expected rise in quarterly comparable sales on Thursday as customers ordered more of its pizzas through delivery and takeout during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pizza chains have been among the few winners of the health crisis, as consumers avoiding crowds for fear of contracting the coronavirus order more comfort foods to their doorsteps.

The resumption of sports leagues such as the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League has also boosted demand for pies and chicken wings.

Sales at Domino’s U.S. stores open for more than a year rose 17.5% in the third quarter ended Sept.6, exceeding Wall Street estimates of 13.14%, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

International same-store sales growth of 6.2% was also above analysts’ expectations of 1.99%.

Domino’s has been focusing on tech innovations and has also broadened its menu with additions such as chicken tacos and cheeseburger pizzas to keep its customers from switching to rivals McDonald’s, Papa John’s and Pizza Hut , among others.

It has also invested millions of dollars in bonuses, sick-pay policies and sanitary supplies while hiring thousands of workers to cater to the surging demand.

The Ann Arbor, Michigan-based company reported net income of $99.1 million, or $2.49 per share, compared with $86.4 million, or $2.05 per share, a year earlier.

Total revenue rose 17.9% to $967.7 million, beating expectations of about $953 million.

Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni