AUCKLAND, N.Z. — Restaurant Brands, franchisee of Pizza Hut operations in New Zealand and Australia, reported that sales are looking up, though improvement is still needed.

"We have had some successes, most notably the continued growth of Pizza Hut New Zealand ... and in Pizza Hut Victoria, (Australia)," Restaurant Brands CEO Vicki Salmon said in a news release.

Pizza Hut New Zealand posted a total sales increase of 3.2 percent to NZ $46.4 million (U.S. $31 million).

"We are extremely pleased with the continuing performance of the Pizza Hut brand in New Zealand especially given the increased competitive environment," Salmon said. "As expected, growth in same store sales has slowed as we continue to expand our store base and come up against substantial comparative sales growth during the prior year."

Currently there are 95 Pizza Huts in New Zealand, though Restaurant Brands wants to add five more before year's end.

For the first time since Restaurant Brands bought 51 Pizza Huts in Victoria two years ago, the group has delivered positive earnings. Total sales increased 3.9 percent to NZ $16.3 million (U.S. $11 million). A series of openings and closings has kept the total store count at 51.

"While later than originally anticipated, we continue to believe that Pizza Hut Victoria will benefit shareholders in the long term," Salmon said. "Our focus on staff training has resulted in a more stable store management team and enhanced levels of service."

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