The FINANCIAL -- Domino's Pizza, Inc. the recognized world leader in pizza delivery, on April 27 announced results for the first quarter of 2017, comprised of strong growth in same store sales, global store counts and earnings per share.
Domestic same store sales grew 10.2% during the quarter versus the year-ago period, which represents the 24th consecutive quarter of positive sales momentum in the Company's domestic business. The international division also posted strong results, with same store sales growth of 4.3% during the quarter, marking the 93rd consecutive quarter of positive international same store sales growth. The Company had global net store growth of 189 stores in the quarter, comprised of 28 net new domestic stores and 161 net new stores internationally. The Company has added 1,308 net new stores over the trailing four quarters, according to Domino's Pizza.
Diluted EPS was $1.26 for the first quarter, which was up 41.6% over the Company's diluted EPS in the prior year quarter. This increase resulted from outstanding operational results as well as the adoption of a new accounting standard.
During the quarter, the Company repurchased 80,360 shares of its common stock for approximately $12.7 million. The Company's Board of Directors also declared a 46-cent per share quarterly dividend for shareholders of record as of June 15, 2017, to be paid on June 30, 2017.
"It was a great start to 2017, as momentum continued with solid growth in our international business, and our third consecutive quarter of double-digit same store sales growth in the U.S.," said J. Patrick Doyle, Domino's President and Chief Executive Officer. "The ultimate measure of customer satisfaction is more customers choosing to do business with you. The growth we are experiencing – both in store counts and customer visits – is a reflection of great commitment and execution by our franchisees and team members."
Revenues were up 15.8% for the first quarter versus the prior year period, due primarily to higher supply chain revenues from increased volumes and store growth. Increased domestic franchise and Company-owned store revenues and higher international revenues resulting from both same store sales and store count growth also contributed to this increase.
Net Income increased 37.4% for the first quarter versus the prior year period, primarily driven by an increase in same store sales growth and store count as well as higher supply chain volumes and lower food costs. The adoption of the new equity-based compensation accounting standard also positively impacted net income. These increases were partially offset by higher general and administrative expenses from investments in technological initiatives as well as the negative impact of foreign currency exchange rates.
Diluted EPS was $1.26 for the first quarter versus 89 cents in the prior year quarter. This represents a 37-cent or 41.6% increase over the prior year quarter. This increase was driven by the increase in net income, as well as lower diluted share count, primarily as a result of the share repurchases made during the trailing four quarters.
The Company adopted ASU 2016-09 in the first quarter of 2017. This standard addresses the accounting for income taxes and forfeitures and the cash flow presentation of share-based compensation. The adoption resulted in a $6.5 million decrease in our first quarter 2017 provision for income taxes, or a 7.2 percentage point decrease in our first quarter 2017 effective tax rate, due to the recognition of excess tax benefits for options exercised and the vesting of equity awards in the first quarter of 2017. This item positively impacted our diluted EPS by approximately 13 cents in the first quarter of 2017. Refer to the Company's Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 26, 2017 for additional detailed information regarding the impact of the adoption of ASU 2016-09.
During the first quarter of 2017, the Company repurchased and retired 80,360 shares of its common stock under its open market share repurchase program for approximately $12.7 million, or an average price of $158.30 per share. As of March 26, 2017, the end of the first quarter, the Company had a total remaining authorized amount for share repurchases of $136.4 million.
As of March 26, 2017, the Company had approximately:
$52.1 million of unrestricted cash and cash equivalents;
$2.18 billion in total debt; and
$80.7 million of available borrowings under its $125.0 million variable funding notes, net of letters of credit issued of $44.3 million. The Company has collateralized $44.0 million of these letters of credit with restricted cash, and has the ability to access this cash with minimal notice.
The Company invested $12.4 million in capital expenditures during the first quarter of 2017, versus $10.5 million in the first quarter of 2016. Free cash flow, as reconciled below to cash flows from operations as determined under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), was approximately $73.2 million in the first quarter of 2017.