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(Reuters) -Domino's Pizza Group reported higher first-quarter sales on Thursday, as repeated coronavirus-led lockdowns pushed up pizza delivery orders.
The company, a franchise of U.S.-based Domino's Pizza Inc, said system sales in UK and Ireland were up 18.7% compared with the first quarter of last year, which was unaffected by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through 2020, the virus outbreak sparked greater demand for takeaways and comfort food, as people spent more time at home.
However, in the United States, where coronavirus-related restrictions were eased months ago, Domino's and rival Papa John's have reported a slowdown in quarterly same-store sales as customers opted to dine out.
The United Kingdom has only just started easing restrictions from its latest lockdown, and Domino's expects its investments to drive growth as the country reopens, the company's Chief Executive Officer Dominic Paul said.
For the reported quarter, Domino's said a 6.8% growth in its pizza delivery business offset lower sales at its lockdown-impacted outlets, which traded at 65% of 2019 levels.
The company reported system sales in UK & Ireland of 371.3 million pounds ($517 million) for the 13 weeks ended March 28, 2021.
(Reporting by Vishwadha Chander in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Shounak Dasgupta)