ANN ARBOR, Mich., Feb. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Domino's Pizza (NYSE: DPZ), the recognized world leader in pizza delivery, today announced that it has refranchised its 26 company-owned stores to a local owner-operator. The change of ownership took place today. With the acquisition, Franchisee Bill Graves' company, Ultimate Challenge, LLC, becomes the third-largest U.S. Domino's Pizza franchise, operating 73 stores in six states.
"The strength of Domino's Pizza is its franchise system," said Scott Hinshaw, Executive Vice President of Franchise Operations and Development. "With nearly 1,200 franchisees in markets around the world, we've found that local, hands-on leadership is crucial to our success. Throughout our history, we have strategically refranchised corporate stores where it makes sense. Minneapolis is an important market for us and we are pleased that Bill Graves has decided to further invest in this market with this purchase. We are confident he can help make Domino's Pizza the dominant player in Minneapolis."
Graves opened his first Domino's Pizza store in 1985. Since that time, he went on to open 46 more, and operates stores in Minnesota, Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Graves announced that all current store employees are eligible to retain their positions within his franchise. No stores will be closed as a result of this sale; instead, Graves intends to use this investment as a way to grow further in this market.
With this transaction, Domino's Pizza LLC operates 429 company-owned stores throughout the United States, or less than 5 percent of its global stores.
Founded in 1960, Domino's Pizza is the recognized world leader in pizza delivery. Domino's is listed on the NYSE under the symbol "DPZ." Through its primarily locally-owned and operated franchised system, Domino's operates a network of 9,351 franchised and Company-owned stores in the United States and over 65 international markets. Domino's Pizza had global retail sales of over $5.6 billion in 2009, comprised of nearly $3.1 billion domestically and over $2.5 billion internationally. During the third quarter of 2010, Domino's had global retail sales of nearly $1.4 billion, comprised of over $747 million domestically and nearly $650 million internationally. In June 2010, Pizza Today named Domino's its "Chain of the Year" - making the company a two-time winner of the honor. In late 2009, Domino's debuted its 'Inspired New Pizza' - a permanent change to its hand-tossed product, reinvented from the crust up. Helped by the launch of its Domino's Smart Slice school lunch pizza in late 2010, Domino's Pizza is a recognized partner in the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. In 2011, Domino's was ranked #1 in Forbes Magazine's "Top 20 Franchises for the Money" list.
SOURCE Domino's Pizza