12 Dec 2013

Restaurant Brands says people seem more willing to spend

6:58 am on 12 December 2013

Fast-food operator Restaurant Brands says people seem to be more willing to spend.

The company has been heavily discounting for months.

The company, which owns the KFC, Pizza Hut, Starbucks and Carl's Junior chains says third quarter sales rose by $4 million, or 5.4%, compared with the same period last year.

The boost came from the new Carl's Junior burger chain, which added $3.9 million to sales, offsetting slight declines in the KFC and Pizza Hut stores.

Excluding new stores and closures, sales were relatively flat, rising just 0.2%.

Restaurant Brands chief executive Russel Creedy says people's wallets were tightly closed in the three months to the beginning of December, but that's starting to change.

He says the first two weeks of the fourth quarter have been much more promising and he expects a more buoyant retail market in the final quarter and the start of 2014.

Mr Creedy says when people have a bit more cash Carl's Junior, which is a premium brand does well, as do coffee sales.

He says the advantage of having a mix of brands is that when one softens, another is likely to strengthen.

Mr Creedy says the goal for next year is to cement Carl's Junior's position in the market and Restaurant Brands is planning to open five or six new stores, although that is dependent on finding suitable sites.

He says KFC is likely to open one or two new stores.