• Pizza chains score big, surpass goals during World Cup

BANGKOK, Thailand -- Like Brazilians thousands of miles away, Thai pizza chains continue to celebrate after the end of last month's World Cup soccer tournament.

According to the Bangkok Post, The Pizza Co. and Pizza Hut are reporting that sales growth during the month far surpassed initial expectations.

Veena Ongcsarit, marketing director for Minor Food Group, which owns The Pizza Co., said delivery sales were 40 percent higher than in June 2001 and 15 percent higher than expected for the period. Ongcsarit said the company credits some of the growth to the roll-out of its new Pizza Puff product.

Ongcsarit said Minor spent nearly eight million baht (U.S. $192,000) on World Cup-focused promotions, and that it more than recouped its investment.

The Post reported that a source from Tricon International (a Southeast Asian Pizza Hut franchisee) projected that, once all the figures are tabulated, delivery sales alone will be up 20 percent for June.

Other restaurant and pub owners around the country said that sales often doubled during televised matches.

Some Thai mall retailers, on the other hand, reported sales dips of 8 percent during the month.

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