Yum! Brands reported Wednesday that Pizza Hut showed weak Q3 sales growth, both in the U.S. and abroad. The figures announced Wednesday fell short of analysts’ expectations, reported CNBC.

Though the sales revelations briefly led to a dip in Yum! Brands’ stock, the stock price has since rebounded and then some—as of Thursday afternoon, it had climbed 5% over a five-day period. The stock was trading above $124, which was down some 15% from an all-time high, $142.90, that the stock reached in April 2023.

Pizza Hut’s overall same-store sales, including international locations, increased 1% in Q3 this year as compared to the same quarter in 2022. In the U.S., same-sales were flat, while international locations saw 2% growth. The minor increases were quite a bit lower than Yum!’s overall 6% sales growth, which CNBC reports was due in large part to strong showings from Taco Bell.

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Pizza Hut will look to win its ongoing rivalry with Domino’s in the late-night window: The chain, based in Wichita, Kansas, recently announced U.S.-based locations will stay open later in order to target a younger demographic. “As we head into the fourth quarter, the Pizza Hut U.S. team launched a late-night initiative, strategically expanding operating hours in more than 1,000 restaurants to give consumers even more ways to access the brand,” Yum! Brands CEO David Gibbs said in an earnings call to investors on November 1.

Another recent move by the chain, ostensibly aimed at younger diners, was a $7 “Deal Lover’s Menu,” complete with a TikTok-inspired marketing campaign.

A particularly bleak aspect of Pizza Hut’s sales report was in its second biggest market: China. Yum! Brands China CEO Andy Yeung reported that sales in late September and October had softened even further, indicating a potentially rough Q4 for the brand. According to Statista, Pizza Hut has more than 2,700 Pizza Hut restaurants in China. There are more than 6,500 Pizza Huts in the U.S.

As CNBC noted, Pizza Hut isn’t the only leading pizza chain that has struggled in the second half of 2023. Domino’s Pizza, the largest pizza chain in the world, reported a 0.6% drop in same-store sales during Q3 reporting.


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