Pizza delivery chain Domino's Pizza served up a 25 per cent increase in profits thanks to the launch of its Simpsons branded pizza and the World Cup effect.
A boom in e-commerce sales, which now account for 12 per cent of total UK delivered pizza revenues, also boosted the company - helping it to pre-tax profits of £6.3 million in the first half to J uly 2, compared with £5 million last year.
Like-for-like sales at 357 established stores - including West Midlands outlets in Birmingham, Cannock, Coventry, Halesowen and others - grew by eight per cent. Some 21 new stores were opened in the period, bringing the total to 428 across the UK and Ireland.
Chief operating officer Chris Moore said the launch of new products such as the Football Fanatic Pizza promoted by England star Michael Owen and the Ay Carumba Fajita Simpsons pizza brought new customers to the stores and helped avoid "menu boredom syndrome" with existing customers.
The campaigns were funded by a increase in advertising contribution from franchises, he said.
Mr Moore said the World Cup tournament in Germany had had a positive impact despite coinciding with the first spell of very hot weather which would normally depress sales.
"If England played late and it was raining in the UK, sales were up 50 per cent on last year," he said. "But on warmer days people tend to have barbecues."
The extended hot weather works in Domino's favour as customers eventually tire of barbecues and feel it is too hot to cook, he added.
Shares in Domino's were higher in early trading, as the market digested the half year numbers, at 1p higher at 498p while the FTSE Small Cap Index added 1.7 points at 3,363.3. Chief executive of Stephen Hemsley said the focus of the group had been the continued to roll-out of its operations in the UK and Ireland.
He said: "This has seen us further extend our market leadership in the fast-growing pizza delivery segment both in terms of the number of stores and total system sales.
"Five of the top ten most successful Domino's Pizza stores in the world, as measured by system sales performance, are now within the markets we manage."
Strong cash generation and the anticipated completion of a capital re-organisation, should allow for further share buybacks in the second half.
He continued: "We are confident that earnings will meet market expectations for the year."
Broker Panmure Gordon reiterated its "buy" recommendation and lifted its target price to 565p from 550p, noting the numbers were strong.
The broker said the World Cup and three new product launches helped lift sales higher, but warned that it expected sales to slow quarter on quarter going into the second half, and left its estimates unchanged. Meanwhile, Altium Securities reiterated its "buy" recommendation.
It noted the group had delivered an impressive set of interim results, which showed the group continued to extend its market leadership while the business still had the opportunity to more than double in size for relatively minor incremental infrastructure investment.
Shares closed down 6p at 493.