Jan 13 Yum Brands Inc on Monday said
December sales at established restaurants in China, its top
market, rose a smaller-than-expected 2 percent after weakness at
its Pizza Hut Casual Dining chain weighed on a recovery at KFC,
which is recovering from a food safety scare and avian flu
Yum's China same-restaurant sales for December included a 5
percent increase at KFC and a 3 percent decline at Pizza Hut.
Analysts polled by Consensus Metrix expected same-restaurant
sales to rise 6 percent at KFC and 5.7 percent at Pizza Hut.
China accounts for more than half of Yum's operating profit.
KFC is the biggest Western restaurant brand in China with almost
4,500 KFC outlets there at the end of its third quarter.
Yum's shares have risen more than 8 percent since the start
of November on the expectation that its China same-restaurant
sales would compare favorably with dismal results from a year
earlier. Monday's news sent the stock down 1.2 percent to $72.50
in extended trading.
Yum's China sales plummeted in December 2012 after China
Central Television reported that a few poultry farmers doing
business with Yum suppliers fed their chickens excessive amounts
of antibiotics. That was followed by a bird flu outbreak in the
Louisville, Kentucky-based Yum has since culled
underperforming suppliers and begun an aggressive marketing
The company, which also owns the Taco Bell chain, expects to
bounce back strongly this year and has forecast at least 20
percent growth in 2014 earnings per share, excluding special
Yum started reporting monthly same-restaurant sales results
for China after its business swooned. It has said December will
be the last of those monthly reports.