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Wed 19th Jul 2017 - Update: Domino’s Pizza Poland, Hotel Chocolat, Vue, Chipotle
Domino’s Pizza Poland reports like-for-likes up 17%: Domino’s Pizza Poland has reported like-for-like sales increased 17% in the first half of 2017. System sales were up 50% to PLN27m compared with PLN18m the year before. It was the 19th consecutive quarter of double-digit system sales growth. Ten new stores have opened so far in 2017 while a new commissary is close to completion. Domino’s Pizza Poland, through its wholly owned subsidiary DP Polska SA, has the exclusive right to develop, operate and sub-franchise Domino’s Pizza stores in Poland. There are currently 45 Domino’s Pizza stores in 18 towns and cities, 20 corporately managed, two under management contract and 23 sub-franchised. Domino’s Pizza Poland chief executive Peter Shaw said: “We continued to see strong growth in system sales in the first half of 2017, thanks to robust double-digit like-for-likes and ten store openings, year to date. Eight additional towns and cities have been added to the Domino’s map in Poland so far this year. Our rate of growth in online sales continues with 73% of all delivery orders made online in the first half of 2017, compared with 71% for the full year 2016, a trend that brings us in line with many of the more mature Domino’s markets. An effective online ordering system benefits both our customers and our operational efficiencies, making the ordering process easier and less labour intensive. We expect the proportion of delivery sales made online to continue to grow as we invest in our digital technology and marketing. Our state-of-the art commissary in Łódź is nearing completion and we expect it to come on stream in September, giving us the capacity to supply up to 150 stores with fresh dough and ingredients, in combination with our Warsaw facility.”

Hotel Chocolat reports revenue increases 12% to £105m with help of new shop+cafe format: Hotel Chocolat Group, the premium British chocolatier and omni-channel retailer, has reported revenue increased 12% to £105m for the 53 weeks ended 2 July 2017. Two new stores opened in the second half of the year, bringing the total to 12 new stores in the financial year, which contributed 5% to group sales year-on-year. Eight of the 12 stores feature a cafe. The company stated: “The new shop+cafe format is working well. A refit of the existing Milton Keynes store, due to open before the end of July will test the impact of adding a cafe to an existing location. The spring seasonal ranges delivered encouraging results and, following successful trials, our cocoa-infused ice cream known as Ice Cream of the Gods, is now on sale in 37 locations. A new website launched early in 2017 offering an improved shopping experience on tablets and smartphones. Trading since the year-end continues to be in line with management’s expectations.” Co-founder and chief executive Angus Thirlwell added: “Hotel Chocolat has had another good year, with encouraging growth. We are excited about the progress made with our new shop+cafe format stores and our seasonal ranges continue to perform well.”

Vue lines up Adam Crozier as new chairman: Vue Cinema is lining up former ITV chief executive Adam Crozier to become chairman as it examines plans for a sale or stock market flotation. The company, which is controlled by the Canadian pension funds Omers and Aimco, has approached Crozier about the role, reports Sky News. Sources close to Vue and its owner said the discussions were likely to result in Crozier being appointed in the coming weeks, although they cautioned that no deal had yet been agreed. If he does agree to join, Crozier’s transition from the small to big screen would put Vue within sight of a transaction expected to value it at more than £1.5bn. Crozier, who is due to become the senior independent director at Whitbread in September, is expected to build a portfolio of non-executive chairmanships over the coming months. His CV also includes stints as chief executive of the Football Association and Royal Mail. A source close to Vue said his combination of public company experience and strong track record at delivering value to shareholders would leave the cinema operator well placed to pursue a public listing. Vue founder and chief executive Tim Richards, has talked in recent weeks about the prospect of a sale or other exit for Omers, which took control of Vue in 2013. He previously told The Times: “We are truly the last port of call if an international operator wants to come into Europe. There’s a huge amount of interest from all corners. There are international distributors in North America, Korea, Japan, Mexico and Australia: these are groups that we know and we would want to work with.” Vue now ranks as the sixth-biggest cinema group in the world, operating more than 200 sites in countries including the UK, Germany, Poland and Taiwan. Sales grew 9% to £773m last year. Rothschild, the investment bank, is expected to act as the independent adviser to Vue as it explores its options. Its big rival in Britain, Odeon, was sold last year to the American group AMC, which in turn is backed by the Chinese company Dalian Wanda.

Chipotle sees share price fall after closing Virginia restaurant due to suspected norovirus outbreak: Chipotle Mexican Grill, which is working to bounce back from past food-safety lapses, has seen its share value fall after closing a restaurant in Virginia because of a suspected norovirus outbreak among some diners. Investors are keenly sensitive to reports of illness linked to Chipotle, which endured a string of E. coli, salmonella and norovirus outbreaks in late 2015. Chipotle’s shares closed down 4.3%, or $17.02, at $374.98 on Tuesday after falling as low as $362.40. The shares were trading at nearly $750 before the company’s previous food-safety incidents, which severely affected the company’s profits and reputation. Chipotle said the reported symptoms were consistent with norovirus, a highly contagious virus that can cause severe vomiting and diarrhoea. In a statement, Chipotle executive director for food safety Jim Marsden said: “Norovirus does not come from our food supply, and it is safe to eat at Chipotle.” Chipotle’s plan to reopen the store on Tuesday had been delayed and it could not confirm when the restaurant would reopen. At least 13 customers are reported to have fallen ill after eating at the venue at the end of last week. Chipotle voluntarily closed the restaurant on Monday with test results expected later this week, Avitto said. Norovirus, known as the “winter vomiting bug”, is the leading cause of illness and outbreaks from contaminated food in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can spread from person to person, as well as through food prepared by an infected person. Most outbreaks happen from November to April in the US.

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