StockMarketWire.com - Dominos Pizza reported a 3.7% rise in sales in the fourth quarter, but growth was held back by ongoing weakness abroad, with the company expected to report a £20m loss across its Nordic and Scandinavian businesses.

The company said it expected to report an operating loss in the region of £20m for its directly operated international markets including Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Iceland.

Dominos expected to record non-cash non-underlying charges in the region of £20m relating to impairment charges for corporate stores and £20m-to-£40m relating to impairment charges for its international businesses.

In the fourth quarter, system sales rose 3.7% to £352m on-year, with UK & Republic of Ireland (ROI) rising 4.4% and international falling 5%.

UK like-for-like growth slowed to 3.9% from 4.5% on-year for the quarter and ROI fell 1%, compared with a rise of 7.5% on-year.

'The dispute with our franchisees is ongoing and normal working practices remain affected. The situation is complex and we expect resolution to take time,' the company said..

Dominos said, however, it expected UK & ROI operating profit to be within the range of market expectations of £102.1m to £104.1m, with an average of £103.1m.

The company guided net debt of about £233m for the year, slightly above the previous guidance range of £220m-to-£230m and capital expenditure below the prior guidance range of £25m-to-£30m.

Plans to offload its businesses across Scandinavia were in progress, with Norway the initial focus followed by Sweden, Switzerland and Iceland, Dominos said.




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