31 May 2011

Restaurant Brands sales dented by Christchurch closures

1:40 pm on 31 May 2011

The closure of stores in Christchurch has hit quarterly sales at the fast food chain operator Restaurant Brands.

The company, which owns the KFC, Pizza Hut and Starbucks chains, says sales fell 4% to $72.5 million in the three months to May compared with the same period a year ago.

But February's devastating quake in Christchurch forced the closure of 19 stores, 14 of which have since reopened.

The fast food operator says three-quarters of the lost sales are due to the store closures and the remainder to selling Pizza Hut shops.

Sales at stores open at least a year - a key indicator of profitability - fell 2%, with Pizza Hut slumping by a sixth, offsetting gains at KFC and Starbucks.

KFC still accounts for three-quarters of sales, and Restaurant Brands says business is picking up again after a slowdown, boosted by new products.

Starbucks is also performing well, which the company says has been helped by a new range of fresh food.

But Pizza Hut remains a drag on sales, and the company continues to cut store numbers.