Restaurant Brands New Zealand lifted first-quarter sales 12 percent after the fast-food operator acquired a further 13 KFC stores in Australia.
The Auckland-based company said sales increased to $180 million in the 12 weeks ended May 21, from $161.2 million in the equivalent period a year earlier. New Zealand operations lifted sales 2.8 percent to $97.4 million, while Australian sales surged 44 percent to $42.8 million and Hawaiian sales rose 8.4 percent to $39.8 million.
On a same-store basis, total sales rose a more modest 2.9 percent. The company's shares slipped 1.9 percent to $7.72 in early trading today, having gained 7.8 percent so far this year.
New Zealand's largest fast-food operator is expanding into new overseas markets to drive future earnings growth. The company operates the KFC, Pizza Hut, Starbucks Coffee and Carl's Jr brands in New Zealand and has expanded its business to KFC in Australia and Taco Bell and Pizza Hut in Hawaii, with almost half its sales generated overseas last year. It had a total of 309 stores at the end of the quarter, boosted by the acquisition of a further 13 KFC stores in Australia.
In New Zealand, its largest market, total store numbers across its brands reduced by two to 167 from the year-earlier period.
It added two KFC stores taking the total to 94 with sales up 5.8 percent to $75 million, but in its local Pizza Hut business, sales slipped 5.4 percent to $9.2 million as store numbers reduced by one to 33. It sold three stores to independent franchisees during the quarter, taking the total number of independent stores to 65. Total network sales across the 98 stores advanced 1.2 percent to $23.4 million.
Meanwhile, Starbucks Coffee sales slipped 6.1 percent to $5.7 million as store numbers dropped by two to 22, while the 19 Carl's Jr sales fell 6.9 percent to $7.5 million as store numbers fell by one to 18.
In Australia, first-quarter sales jumped 44 percent to $42.8 million as total store numbers increased by 14 to 61 following the acquisition of 13 stores and one new store opening.
Its Hawaiian-based business increased sales by 8.4 percent to $39.8 million, helped by an extra week's trading. The Taco Bell chain lifted sales 8 percent to $22.6 million as store numbers reduced by one to 36 due to a lease expiry. The 45 Pizza Hut stores in that market lifted sales 8.8 percent to $17.2 million.