KFC system sales in the UK saw the biggest uplift of all its markets in Q4 last year, according to Yum! Brands financial reports.

Despite the impact of the coronavirus crisis, UK sales rose by 14% year-on-year for the quarter ended 31 December, accounting for 6% of KFC system sales worldwide.

For the full year, UK sales were down just 2% compared to 2019, and in the fourth quarter the market outperformed the US (up 2% yoy), China (up 3%) and Australia (up 5%). All other global markets incurred losses.

Globally, KFC like-for-like sales were down 2% in the quarter and 9% in the full year. System sales were up 2% in the quarter and down 6% for the full year.

Operating profit was down 6% in the quarter to $267m and 12% for the year, at $922m.

Operating margin decreased 1.4% for the quarter, which the company said was driven by higher general and administrative expenses and negative franchise same-store sales, but partially offset by higher restaurant profits in company stores and the impact of net unit development. For the year, operating margin decreased by 1.6%.

KFC opened 587 gross new restaurants during the quarter, and 1,512 for the full year, in 88 countries.

The report also included results for Pizza Hut, which saw European system sales (including the UK) down 22% for the quarter, and 17% for the year.

Sales were down 5% globally in the fourth quarter and 7% for the full year. The company opened 682 gross new restaurants in 58 countries in the year, and closed 1,745 outlets.

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