Yum sees higher KFC, Taco Bell sales in US; Pizza Hut falls

This Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016, photo shows a Taco Bell in Metairie, La. Yum Brands, Inc. reports financial earnings Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Yum Brands reported a higher than expected profit for the fourth quarter as stronger sales at KFC and Taco Bell in the U.S. offset ongoing struggles at Pizza Hut.

The company said U.S. sales at KFC rose 4 percent at established locations, while Taco Bell’s sales rose 3 percent. Pizza Hut, which has been trying to revamp its image and menu, saw U.S. sales fall 4 percent. The chain has faltered as rival Domino’s has steadily grown sales by making it ordering a pizza easier with new technologies.

Yum President David Gibbs noted KFC and Taco Bell’s improved performance despite the “difficult U.S. industry conditions.” McDonald’s recently reported a decline in domestic sales at established locations, and saw its customer counts fall again for 2016. The NPD Group has said it expects the overall restaurant industry’s customer traffic to remain “stalled.”

Globally, the company said sales rose 1 percent at established locations for the quarter. Yum last year spun off its China division, which had also struggled since a series of food scares.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, Yum Brands Inc. earned $267 million, or 76 cents per share. Not including one-time items, it earned 79 cents per share, topping the 73 cents analysts expected.

Total revenue was $2.02 billion, which met expectations.

Yum shares have climbed 5 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has risen 2.5 percent. The stock has decreased 1 percent in the last 12 months.

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This story was generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on YUM at https://www.zacks.com/ap/YUM

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