Yum Brands beats Q2 sales forecasts on new stores, traffic

The company that owns KFC and Taco Bell posted better-than-expected sales in the second quarter thanks to stronger customer demand and a record new store building spree.

Yum Brands built 603 net new stores during the quarter, including 522 KFC outlets in 62 countries.

Revenue for the Louisville, Ky., company rose 34% in the April-June period to $1.6 billion. That was ahead of Wall Street’s forecast of $1.48 billion, according to analysts polled by FactSet.

Same-store sales, or sales at locations open at least a year, jumped 23%, which was higher than Wall Street expected. Last year, the company’s same-sales dropped 15% in the second quarter as the pandemic slowed customer traffic.

Same-store sales also rose compared to 2019 levels. But on that basis the numbers were more uneven, with stronger results in the U.S. where more outlets have fully reopened.

KFC U.S. same-store sales jumped 19% compared to 2019 levels, for example, but international KFC same-store sales fell 1%. The company said 2% of its international stores remained temporarily closed due to virus restrictions at the end of June.

Similarly, Pizza Hut’s U.S. same-store sales rose 9% compared to 2019, while international same-store sales were down 6%.

Net income rose 89% to $391. Adjusted for one-time items, the company earned $1.16 per share. That was also ahead of analysts’ forecast of 96 cents.

Yum Brands shared rose 2% in premarket trading.

Yum’s results came the day after rival McDonald’s reported a big rebound in the second quarter. McDonald’s said its global same-store sales jumped 40.5% in the April-June period.