• Yum posts strong 2002, Pizza Hut's results are mixed

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Multi-concept restaurant operator Yum! Brands, which owns Pizza Hut, showed positive same-store systemwide sales gains for 2002.

According to a release, for its fiscal year, ended Dec. 28, revenue was approximately $7.8 billion (versus approximately $7 billion in 2001) on $24.2 billion in sales, and net income was $583 million (versus $492 million for 2001).

Pizza Hut posted mixed results, reflecting its struggle to grow U.S. same-store sales, while enjoying steady expansion into international markets.

Sales at Pizza Hut's U.S. company stores were even with 2001. The company did not break out sales or performance figures for its franchised stores.

Blended international sales -- combined with KFC operations outside of the U.S. -- were up 7 percent prior to foreign currency conversion. The company did not disclose sales figure for those operations.

In the U.S., 120 Pizza Huts were closed, leaving a total of 7,599 total stores in operation. In international markets, 382 new Pizza Huts opened, for a total of 4,431 units outside the U.S. During a Feb. 11 conference call, company officials said Pizza Hut's U.S. store openings should exceed closings in the second half of 2003.

Additionally, officials mentioned the launch of a new initiative for Pizza Hut in the second quarter of this year, but gave no details.

Yum chairman David Novak said the company will continue growing the number of multibrand units, including the number of cobranded Pasta Bravo and Pizza Hut units. Currently there is one.

"We have a number of franchisees who'll open up Pasta Bravos this year," Novak said. The pasta-centered concept "is doing everything we hoped it would. It's in its very early days, but the customer response is what we hoped it would be. I think this could be a global idea."

See related story:
* YUM reports strong international sales, new agreement with Pasta Bravo

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