Domino's Pizza's full-year profit has fallen nearly 5 per cent after the company shut down franchisees who were deliberately underpaying employees.
Revenue for the 12 months to June 30 grew 24.4 per cent to A$1.44 billion ($1.5b), but full-year profit fell by 4.6 per cent to A$115.9 million as loans referred to as "short-term franchisee support" again hit Australia and NZ earnings.
Same-store sales growth for the group slowed to 3.6 per cent from 4.3 per cent a year ago, towards the bottom of the company's 3.0 to 6.0 per cent guidance range.
This was weighed down by softer than expected local figures, with the addition of an XL pizza range in Australia and NZ not enough to stop same-store sales growth slowing to 2.2 per cent from 4.5 per cent a year ago.
Domino's said it was operating a higher mix of Australian and NZ corporate stores after 22 underperforming franchisees were removed, in some cases because the company is ending underpayment of staff amid allegations of systemic abuses.
"We have identified some of those franchisees who have demonstrated they no longer had the passion or capability to execute successfully as we grow," Domino's Australia and NZ chief executive Nick Knight said.
Domino's faces a class-action lawsuit in Australia that claims, among other things, the company and its franchisees systemically underpaid workers for five years.
Domino's rejects the allegation.
"We believe that the entitlements of franchisee workers were governed by our enterprise agreements and that we have at all times acted in accordance with those enterprise agreements," the company reiterated on Wednesday.
Shares in the company slipped by as much as 5.52 per cent to A$41.96 in the first 15 minutes of trade today and were still 2.75 per cent lower at A$43.19 by 11:32 AEST (1:32pm NZT).
Chief executive Don Meij — who began at Domino's 32 years ago as a delivery driver — said the company would always listen to feedback, but he was confident he'd be treated right if he was just starting out now.
"In fact, my children have chosen to work part-time for Domino's," Meiji said.
"I often talk to my daughter and say she's one of the highest paid team members in the fast-food industry."
Elsewhere, Domino's Japanese stores led a strengthened performance from its international operations, with the segment accounting for 54.7 per cent of group underlying earnings.
Same-store sales growth in Japan was 8.4 per cent, up from 0.9 per cent a year ago, with total revenue rising by 13.6 per cent to 47.3 billion yen (A$656.85m) on the addition of 81 new stores.
Same-store sales growth in Europe slowed to 3.1 per cent from 5.7 per cent a year ago, with revenue increasing 11 per cent to 712.9 million euros (A$1.17b) as the conversion of Hallo Pizza stores was completed.
The company will pay a final dividend of 52.8 cents per share, fully franked, up from a partially franked 49.7 cents a year ago.
Domino's no longer provides year-on-year guidance but said it expected same-store sales to grow 3.0 per cent to 6.0 per cent in the next three to five years and store count to grow by 7.0 to 9.0 per cent.