The entire restaurant industry has been plagued by sales slumps as America continues what some analysts have called a "restaurant recession." Industry sales in December were particularly painful -- they recorded their worst showing in more than five years.
Revenue for the fourth quarter rose by more than 10% to $819.4 million, soundly beating Wall Street's estimate of $782.2 million. Net income jumped by 16% year over year to $72.7 million, or $1.48 a share. And same-store sales soared by nearly 14% at U.S. company-operated locations, surpassing analyst forecasts for an increase of 10.5%.
Domino's was helped by a huge quarterly increase in store count across the globe. During the quarter, the company opened 171 locations in the U.S., but the number of new international locations opened was an astounding 487.
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Clearly, the world is clamoring for delivery from Domino's. And investors should continue to pay attention.
However, don't get fooled into thinking all pizza chains are made equal. Although Domino's has been outpacing other restaurants, rivals Papa John's (PZZA) - Get Report and Yum Brands' (YUM) - Get Report Pizza Hut have both posted falling sales. Although shares of Papa John's piggybacked on Domino's success during Tuesday's session, year to date the company's stock is down by nearly 8%. On the other hand, Domino's has soared by nearly 20%.
A large part of Domino's success has to do with its recent e-commerce initiatives. As restaurant chains (including Starbucks (SBUX) - Get Report , Dunkin' Brands (DNKN) - Get Report , and Panera Bread (PNRA) ) have been finding out, online integration is crucial.
Domino's has been partnering with the biggest names in tech and social media - among them Facebook (FB) - Get Report and Alphabet's (GOOGL) - Get Report Google - to make online ordering and payment easier than ever. And that ease of use is creating loyal customers.
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Among the analysts covering Domino's stock, some are predicting it could soar as high as $221 during the next 12 months. That represents upside of more than 16%. Not too shabby, while the rest of the restaurant industry struggles with sales.
Look for any dips in price to load up on slices of this tasty pizza stock.
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The author is an independent contributor who at the time of publication owned none of the stocks mentioned.