Domino's Pizza (NYSE:DPZ) is slated to report its results for its fiscal second quarter 2021 (which ended in late June) before the market open on Thursday, July 22. An analyst conference call is scheduled to follow at 10 a.m. EDT.

Investors will probably be approaching the report with captious optimism. The pizza retailing giant will be facing tough comparables as the COVID-19 pandemic was raging around the world in the year-ago period, which benefited its U.S. segment due to its significant delivery and pickup business. The company's international business, however, didn't fare as well because of a notable number of mandated store closures. 

Moreover, while Domino's earnings in the year-ago period comfortably beat the Wall Street consensus estimate, there have been no major earnings surprises in the last three quarters. In fact, in the last two quarters, the consensus earnings estimate has been nearly on target.

In 2021, shares of the consumer discretionary company have returned 25.3% through July 7, compared to the S&P 500's 16.9% return over this period. Moreover, they reached an intraday all-time high on July 7. (A five-year stock chart is below so you can see the bigger picture, including the effect of the pandemic on the stock.) 

Here's what to watch in Domino's fiscal Q2 report.

Four children eat pizza out of a box.

Image source: Getty Images.

Domino's Pizza's key numbers 

Here are Wall Street's estimates for the quarter and the company's year-ago results to use as benchmarks.

Metric Fiscal Q2 2020 Result Wall Street's Fiscal Q2 2021 Consensus Estimate Wall Street's Projected Change

Revenue

$920.0 million

$968.8 million

5.3%

GAAP earnings per share (EPS)

$2.99

$2.86 (4.3%)

Data sources: Domino's Pizza and Yahoo! Finance. GAAP = generally accepted accounting principles. 

For context, last quarter (which ended on March 28), Domino's total sales rose 17% year over year (14% in constant currency) to $983.7 million. Growth was driven by strong same-store sales increases in both the U.S. (13%) and internationally (12%). Net new store openings over the last year also contributed to growth in both regions, with the U.S. store count increasing by 235 to 6,391 and the international number rising by 495 to 11,428.

Investors will want to focus on same-store sales growth, arguably the most important metric for more mature restaurant chains.

While the pandemic has somewhat clouded the company's long-term growth potential, the recent sales numbers suggest that the world isn't near the saturation point with Domino's Pizza locations.

Net income last quarter was $117.8 million, which translated to earnings per share of $3, down 2% year over year. That result surpassed the $2.94 analysts had been expecting, which likely was a catalyst behind the stock's 3% rise on the day results were released.

However, these bottom-line numbers understate the company's underlying performance, which was robust. The only reason earnings declined was a big increase in income taxes. Indeed, net income before accounting for income taxes landed at $149.6 million, up 28% from the year-ago period.

DPZ Total Return Price Chart

Data by YCharts.

Looking ahead

Domino's Pizza management generally doesn't provide short-term guidance. But on last quarter's earnings call, CEO Ritch Allison reiterated the company's medium-term outlook: "We remain confident in our two-year to three-year outlook of 6% to 8% annual net store growth and 6% to 10% annual global retail sales growth."

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