• New Zealand, Australian Pizza Huts post mixed 3Q results

WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- New Zealand fast-food operator Restaurant Brands Ltd. (A.RSB), reported Dec. 10 that third quarter (the 12 weeks ended Dec. 2, 2002) sales at its Pizza Hut New Zealand stores were $17.2 million (U.S. $8.6 million), up 5.9 percent on last year. Same-store sales for the period rose 5.5 percent.

According to a company statement published on the New Zealand Stock Exchange Web site, chief executive Jim Collier credited the increases to improved delivery and takeout performance.

During the quarter, same-store sales at Pizza Hut Victoria were NZ$6.4 million (U.S. $3.2 million), down 14 percent compared to the same period last year. Restaurant Brands did not own those stores in 2001; the group, which also franchises KFC and Starbucks Coffee, purchased 51 Australian units on March 22.

In the release, Collier said the Victoria stores were recovering and expected to operate at breakeven by the end of the company's financial year in February.

As a brand, Pizza Hut is struggling in Australia. In the past several years its unit numbers have dropped from 400 to 310 currently (See "Pizza Hut closures continue in Australia").

Restaurant Brands franchises 136 Pizza Hut stores.

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