9 Apr 2009

Restaurant Brands plans Pizza Hut store sales

3:12 pm on 9 April 2009

Restaurant Brands says it will continue with planned closures of unprofitable Pizza Hut stores and is considering selling others to independent parties.

The fast food chain operator's profit grew 13% to $11.7 million in the year to February as record sales at its KFC stores offset lower earnings at its underperforming pizza arm.

On a key measure of stores open at least a year, KFC and Starbucks rose, while Pizza Hut declined.

KFC sales reached $212 million, up 4.1% on the previous year. Pizza Hutt stores experienced a drop in sales of 6.5% to $65 million.

Restaurant Brands expects to make an announcement about its franchise deal with the American owner of the Pizza Hut brand, Yum, within the month.

The company's chief financial officer Grant Ellis says Restaurant Brands is looking to renegotiate the Pizza Hut brand's future and, as already indicated, is looking at a possible sell-down of stores.

Sales at Starbucks grew 3.6%, to $33 million, but stores also faced significant price increases for raw materials, and a weaker exchange rate added to the price of coffee.

When $5 million in non-trading items are included in the result, largely due to impairment charges against goodwill for Pizza Hut, net profit fell to $8.3 million, just $100,000 less than the previous year.

Restaurant Brands declared a final dividend of 4 cents a share, taking the full year dividend to 7c, up 0.5c from last year.