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UPDATE 1-Pizza firm DP Eurasia H1 sales inch up driven by Turkey recoverey

(Adds CEO comment, details)

July 21 (Reuters) - Pizza firm DP Eurasia, which runs Domino’s Pizza brand in Turkey and Russia, reported a 3% increase in first half sales on Tuesday, saying growth at its Turkish stores offset a decline in Russia.

The London-listed company said less severe coronavirus lockdown restrictions and Turkey’s earlier move towards reopening helped business there move closer to levels before the pandemic.

The group’s sales at its own and franchise stores rose to 664.7 million Turkish lira ($96.97 million), showing a growth of 13.6% in Turkey and a decline of 14.6% in Russia.

Like-for-like sales grew in Turkey by 13.5% and fell in Russia by 20.1%, DP Eurasia reported.

“As COVID continues to have a deeper effect in Russia, its effect on our Russian business and its results is also more severe,” chief executive Aslan Saranga said in a statement.

The company said the curfews lasted longer in Moscow than in Istanbul and Turkey started normalizing the economy sooner, but both markets showed sales improvement in June compared with May.

The group said the pandemic led to a net of 11 store closures in the first half of the year, but the total number of stores operating under its brand increased by 18 to 754.

The biggest pizza delivery chain in Turkey and third-largest in Russia said online ordering as a percentage of delivery surpassed 75% in the period, up from 67.5% a year ago. ($1 = 6.8546 liras) (Reporting by Anna Rzhevkina in Gdansk Editing by Tomasz Janowski)