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Domino's Pizza Inc.’s (DPZ - Analyst Report) first-quarter 2014 adjusted earnings of 68 cents per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 66 cents by 3.0% and the year-ago quarter’s figure of 58 cents by 15.3%. The upside was driven by higher top line, margin expansion and lower share count.

Quarterly revenues increased 8.7% year over year to $453.9 million and surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $441.0 million by 3.0%. The revenues were driven by higher supply chain revenues from higher commodity prices and increased volumes, higher international revenues resulting from both same-store sales and store count growth, and increased domestic franchise and company-owned store revenues.

Inside the Headline Numbers

Domino's Pizza’s domestic stores (company-owned and franchise stores included) comps were up 4.9% with company-owned and franchise comps rising 1.5% and 5.2%, respectively. However, the company’s domestic comps were lower than the year-ago level of 6.2% but up from fourth-quarter comps of 3.7%.

Comps took a higher jump in the international stores recording 7.4% growth (foreign currency translation excluded). The international comps were also better than the prior- quarter comps of 7% and from the year-ago level of 6.5%.

Excluding the impact of foreign currency translation, global retail sales (total sales of franchise and company-owned units included) were up 11.3% year over year. However, including the foreign currency translation impact, sales were up 9.1%. Increased order count and higher comps drove the global retail sales during the quarter.

The company’s operating margin declined 90 basis points (bps) to 30.2% in the reported quarter, due to higher food and commodity costs. In the quarter, cheese cost increased 29.3% year over year to $2.16 per pound. As a result, higher commodity price affected the company’s supply-chain margin, which rose 12.1% year over year to $230.4 million.

Store Count

During the quarter, Domino’s Pizza unveiled 14 domestic restaurants while closing 9 stores, thus bringing the domestic store count to 4,991. The company’s international store count came in at 5,997 at quarter-end with the opening of 109 units and shutting down of 12 stores.

Share Repurchase

During the first quarter of 2014, the company repurchased 0.22 million shares of its common stock for approximately $15.1 million. Subsequent to the first quarter of 2014 and till Apr 24, 2014, the company repurchased 153,812 shares of its common stock for approximately $11.4 million. As of Apr 24, the company had approximately $188.6 million remaining under its current share repurchase program.

Outlook

For 2014, commodity costs are expected 4% to 6% in 2014 versus 2013 levels, primarily due to the recent increase in commodities.

Our Take

Domino’s Pizza has been posting impressive results consistently for the past few quarters on the back of higher traffic and unit growth. The company’s international operations promise significant growth potential. We believe the company’s digital ordering system and its foray into the Pan Pizza category will help sustain top-line momentum. However, weak consumer spending environment owing to macroeconomic pressures and higher commodity costs poses a headwind.

Domino’s Pizza currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other stocks worth considering in the restaurant industry include The Wendy's Co. (WEN - Analyst Report), Burger King Worldwide, Inc. (BKW - Analyst Report) and Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. (BWLD - Analyst Report). While Wendy’s sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Burger King and Buffalo Wild carry the same Zacks Rank as Domino’s Pizza.

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