KFC owner Yum Brands on Monday said December sales at established restaurants in China, its top market, rose a weaker-than-expected 2 percent as results at its Pizza Hut Casual Dining chain fell far short of Wall Street estimates.
China accounts for more than half of Yum's operating profit. The company's shares have risen more than 8 percent since the start of November on the expectation that sales would compare favorably with dismal results from a year earlier.
Yum's China same-restaurant sales for December included a 5 percent increase at KFC and a 3 percent decline at Pizza Hut Casual Dining. Yum is the biggest Western restaurant operator in China, with almost 4,500 KFC outlets there at the end of its third quarter.