13 Dec 2012

Restaurant Brands sales rise

8:33 am on 13 December 2012

Quarterly sales have risen at fast food operator Restaurant Brands due in part to a strong performance at its pizza unit, which offset further declines at its coffee chain.

The company, which owns the KFC, Pizza Hut, Starbucks and Carl's Junior chains, says sales rose 0.5% to $72.2 million in the 12 weeks to the beginning of December compared with the same period a year ago.

A key indicator, sales at stores open at least a year, rose 3.2%.

Restaurant Brands chief financial officer Grant Ellis says it'll continue to sell Pizza Hut stores where it makes sense, so store numbers will drop below the 60 it has now.

Mr Ellis says he's confident the decline in its Starbucks operations has reversed after dropping coffee prices to attract customers and shutting stores.

Restaurant Brand's burger chain, Carl's Junior, opened its first store in Mangere two weeks ago, and made a solid start with sales of $90,000.

Grant Ellis, who opened the second shop in Palmerston North on Tuesday, says it's aiming at the middle of the burger market. He rejects suggestions that interest will wane once initial curiosity in the new player dies down.

For the year, sales rose 0.6% to $239 million while same store sales rose 1.3%.

The company's shares fell 1 cent to close at $2.65 on Wednesday.