Business

China drives growth for KFC owner Yum

KFC branch in Beijing
Image caption KFC and Pizza Hut outlets are popular in China

The company that owns the KFC fast food chain has again reported solid growth figures fuelled by demand in China.

Yum! Brands has reported better-than-expected profits for the fourth quarter of 2011, jumping 30% from the same period last year.

Net income for the three months ending in December was $356m (£225m).

The company says the Chinese market is crucial to its success.

"We opened a record 656 new restaurants and delivered extraordinary same-store sales growth of 19%," said David C. Novak, chairman and CEO of Yum! Brands.

"Clearly our KFC and Pizza Hut brands in China continued to strengthen their category-leading positions."

Yum! Brands also owns the Taco Bell restaurant chain, which serves Mexican style food.

The company's sharp profit rise was tempered by an increase in food and labour costs in China.

Revenue from Yum's restaurants in China fell 2.4% to 19.7% in the last quarter from the year before, due to wage inflation of 20% and an 8% rise in commodity prices.

According to Yum's profit statement, the firm based in Louisville, Kentucky, is the world's largest restaurant company with over 37,000 restaurants. Outside of the United States, Yum says it opens approximately four new restaurants each day.

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