Domino’s Group has this morning reported an 8.1% rise in like-for-like sales across its UK estate for the 13 weeks to 24 September, with online sales up 17.4%, representing 75% of UK system sales.

Group system sales for the period climbed 20.8% to £286.4m, whilst UK system sales up 11.6% to £261.6m.

The group currently operates 1,149 stores, with 19 new stores opened in the period, including the company’s 1,000th UK store - in Overton, and by the period end it was trading from 1,008 stores.

The company said it had made “strong operational and commercial progress in international markets”, as its convert the Dolly Dimples stores and enjoys the benefits of majority ownership.

It said that its recently set up London franchisee joint venture creates a platform for faster growth and innovation testing

It also announced a £15m buyback in addition to £20m of share purchases completed in the first half of the year.

David Wild, chief executive, said: “We are pleased with our performance in Q3, especially the improved trend in our core market of the UK. Additionally we are making progress in all our overseas operations. In Ireland and Switzerland, our online initiatives are fuelling accelerated growth, and in Norway the first Dolly Dimple’s conversions are trading very well.

“In the UK, consumers are uncertain and they continue to focus on value. Our commitment to growth remains undiminished, as does that of our franchisee partners. We expect to launch a record 90 stores in the UK this year, with an encouraging pipeline already in place for openings in early 2018. More recently, we have seen a real surge in digital engagement, with our new advertising campaign, “The Official Food of Everything”, driving a record 200,000 online orders - or 140 a minute - on the last Saturday in September. The Board reaffirms that its forecasts for full year underlying profit before tax remain at least in line with market expectations.”

The company said that demand for delivered food in the UK continues to be strong despite the uncertain consumer environment.

UK and ROI system sales were up 12.1% in the quarter, or 11.7% excluding currency effects. UK system sales were up 11.6%, an improvement on H1, supported by the record store opening programme and a recovery in like-for-like sales. We opened 18 new UK stores in the period, taking the 2017 total to 58. We are confident of reaching our 90 unit opening target for the full year, and already have good visibility of the pipeline into Q1 of next year. During the quarter we opened our 1,000th UK store.

UK like-for-like sales, which exclude stores in split territories, were up 8.1%. The impact from donor stores on system sales was (2.1%). It said that the improved year-on-year growth rate over H1 was partially due to a weaker comparable period in Q3 last year, with the two year trend remaining broadly consistent with H1.

The group began the roll-out of GPS, with 64 stores active at the period end and over 200 due to be operational by the end of the year.

Towards the end of September, it introduced a new nationwide pricing campaign, “Dine for £9.99”, which offers customers any pizza for £9.99 when they buy two or more. This is being supported by the “The Official Food of Everything” Campaign.

Wild said: “Progress in Q3 has been encouraging and we look forward to realising the effects of our recently-launched campaign. Despite the continued uncertainty affecting the UK, we are investing in growth and the customer proposition for the long term. We now expect full year capex to be at the lower end of the £50-60m range, and we anticipate full year underlying profit before tax at least in line with current market expectations.”