LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Comparable same-store sales at company-owned Pizza Hut stores in the U.S. dipped 1 percent in the third quarter, which ended Sept. 7.

The decline follows a 3 percent drop in Pizza Hut sales in this year's second quarter.

A release from Pizza Hut's Louisville-based parent company, Yum! Brands, paints a brighter picture for the five-brand quick-service giant, which has more than 32,500 outlets worldwide. Net income for the period was $147 million (47 cents a diluted share, compared with $124 million, or 40 cents a share, a year ago) on systemwide sales of $5.93 billion (up 17 percent, $1.92 billion, over last year).

Revenues for the quarter include sales from its recently acquired Long John Sliver's and A&W All American Foods brands.

In response to the positive numbers, Yum! raised its full-year 2002 ongoing operating earnings per share guidance to a range of $1.89 to $1.91, up from $1.88.

The improved forecast was credited to a 3 percent blended same-store sales growth at its U.S. company restaurants (helped by a 10 percent increase in corporate same-store sales at its Taco Bell units), and a 16 percent jump in revenue at its international units.
Yum! reports only blended-store performance figures for franchised outlets.

According to Dow Jones Newswires, Yum! CEO David Novak said Pizza Hut "is back on track" after a slow start this year, and that he expects the company's new Chicago Dish pizza will boost sales in the fourth quarter.

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