Yum! Brands Inc. reported a 2-percent increase in December same-store sales in its last monthly filing for 2013, a year when the company fought its way back from precipitous sales decreases following panic over that country’s supply of poultry.

Yum’s result comprised a 5-percent increase for more than 4,400-unit KFC and a 3-percent decline at Pizza Hut Casual Dining, its nearly 1,000-unit brand that had been growing its monthly same-store sales in 2013, even as KFC struggled.

For the fourth quarter of 2013, the China division reported an estimated 4-percent decline in same-store sales, which included a 4-percent decrease for KFC and a 5-percent increase at Pizza Hut. Yum’s China division includes September, October, November and December in its fourth quarter.

Louisville, Ky.-based Yum disclosed just before its Investor Day event Dec. 4 that the China division had its first same-store sales gain, of 1 percent, in November, which included flat sales at KFC. Though securities analysts expressed some skepticism at the time that the company’s fundamentals in its once high-flying China division had recovered, Yum officials nonetheless predicted that 2014 would be “a bounce-back year” for its brands in China, particularly KFC.

Since that report, one securities analyst, Sara Senatore of Bernstein Research, came out with a more bullish outlook for Yum’s prospects in China, writing that she was “increasingly confident” in a turnaround there.

In addition to KFC and Pizza Hut, Yum also is the operator and franchisor of Taco Bell. The company operates or franchises more than 40,000 restaurants in more than 130 countries.

Contact Mark Brandau at mark.brandau@penton.com.
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