Just Eat’s revenue soars as online takeaway firm targets £1bn of annual sales

Just Eat has reported a jump in annual revenue and profit as the online food firm targets £1bn in sales this year for the first time.

The group saw revenue grow 43 per cent in 2018 to £779.5m, boosted by strong growth in the UK and Canada.

Underlying earnings rose 6 per cent to £173.9m in the year to 31 December, while pre-tax profits came in at £101.7m, compared with a £76m loss in 2017.

UK orders were up 17 per cent and sales increased by 27 per cent, aided by the successful integration of HungryHouse.

In Canada, where it operates SkipTheDishes, revenue soared 186 per cent at constant currency with the launch of multilingual capabilities.

Interim boss Peter Duffy said: “We have a clear plan for the year ahead as our highly experienced team works hard to accelerate the execution of our strategy and we remain focused on long-term returns for shareholders.”

The group expects revenue to come in between £1bn and £1.1bn next year, and earnings in the range of £185m to £205m.

Just Eat invested £51m last year to help deliver a “hybrid strategy”. This included £21m in the UK to help restaurants fulfil deliveries.

Mr Duffy added: “We are creating a leading hybrid offering founded on our unrivalled marketplace, combined with the targeted rollout of delivery. This gives our growing customer base access to the greatest choice of restaurants and drives even more orders to our restaurant partners, ultimately strengthening the network effects of our business.”

However, Just Eat is under intense pressure from shareholder Cat Rock, which has ripped into the company over recent board appointments and has ordered it to seek a merger with a “well-run industry peer”.

The group, which owns 2 per cent of Just Eat, has said this would be a better outcome than relying on the board to choose a new chief executive following the departure of Peter Plumb last month.

Just Eat is attempting to keep up with Deliveroo and Uber, which have been muscling in on its territory.

Speculation that Uber is in early talks to buy Deliveroo has also recently hit Just Eat’s shares.

Shares were down around 1 per cent on Wednesday morning at 774p.

Just Eat has come under fire after a delivery man sends unsolicited texts to a customer: ‘Good night bby

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: “You can tell Just Eat is a company under pressure from an activist investor judging by the language used in its full-year results.

“It’s like you are reading a marketing textbook on the buzz words used to make your company sound good.

“Investors aren’t fooled looking at how the share price has fallen on publication of the results.”

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