Domino’s Pizza Group flags drop in delivery orders amid higher living costs

(Reuters) -Domino’s Pizza Group on Thursday reported a fall in meal deliveries in the third quarter as customers cut back on ordering in as they grapple with higher living costs.

Dominos Pizza Group, which owns, operates and franchises Domino’s stores in Britain and Ireland, said its like-for-like system sales were up 3.7% in the third quarter.

Total orders, however, were down 1.2% to 16.7 million in the third quarter, sending the stock shares down as much as 6.7% in morning trade.

The group had raised prices of its products to keep up with higher costs, but customers feeling the pinch from several interest rate hikes and a slowing economy cut back on discretionary expenses.

“As we look into the next year, we see inflation stabilising and our focus will be on continued customer and order growth, as well as franchisee profitability,” recently appointed Chief Executive Andrew Rennie said in a statement.

The company, a franchisee of U.S.-based Domino’s Pizza Inc, said its total orders returned to growth in the fourth quarter, prompting it to reiterate its underlying core profit outlook for the year.

Last month, the U.S. based pizza chain also flagged tepid performance of its delivery segment as higher charges discouraged inflation-weary consumers from ordering.

Dominos Pizza Group continues to expect underlying core profit in the range of 132 million pounds to 138 million pounds.

Shares in the FTSE 250 index constituent were down at 6.1% to 348 pence at 0920 GMT, while the index was down 0.3%.

(Reporting by Radhika Anilkumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Miral Fahmy)