KFC looks to Double Down to boost sales

NICK KRAUSE
Last updated 10:20 30/05/2012

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KFC is bringing back its infamous Double Down burger later this year as it seeks to boost revenue after reporting deflated first quarter sales today.

KFC owner Restaurant Brands said total sales for the group for the 12 weeks to May 21 were down 2.7 per cent, or $2 million, to $70.6m compared to the same period last year.

In a statement to the NZX, the company attributed most of the drop to the fact last year's figures were high due to the enormous success of the Double Down. KFC's same store sales were down 3.7 per cent.

"Sales were affected by the rolling over of the prior year's KFC Double Down burger promotion which was an unprecedented sales success," Restaurant Brands said.

"KFC plans to offer the Double Down as a limited time offer later this year."

It brought the burger back in April on a limited release in Otago to help raise money for the troubled Otago Rugby Football Union.

The controversial but extremely popular Double Down is a bunless burger, which has bacon and cheese served between two chicken fillets instead of bread. It has been labelled an extremely unhealthy "crime against food" by critics.

Other successful product offers in the first quarter included the $5 Lunch Box Deal, the return of the Tower Burger and the new Godfather Tower Burger.

Restaurant Brands' other brands, Pizza Hut and Starbucks Coffee, also produced lacklustre results. Pizza Hut sales for the quarter were flat at $10.6m, despite having nine fewer store due to sales to independent franchisees and closures.

Starbucks' quarterly sales were $5.9m, down 3.5 per cent on the prior year. It closed two stores following the Christchurch earthquakes.

KFC sales were down 3.1 per cent to $54.1m compared with a 2.8 per cent rise the prior year. Same store sales were down 6.4 per cent.

At Pizza Hut, same store sales jumped 10.4 per cent mostly driven by the launch of the $4.90 Large Classic Pizza.

Same store sales at Starbucks were down 0.9 per cent to $5.8m following a 4.3 per cent rise at the same time last year.

Restaurant Brands plans to open its first Carl's Jr burger restaurant in the third quarter this year with "several more" store sites currently being evaluated.

Its share price mid-morning was unchanged at $2.15 a share.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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