Popeye’s chicken mother company sees 4th quater sales decline
AFC Enterprises Inc., franchisor and operator of Popeyes restaurants, said Monday that a key sales figure declined less in the fourth quarter than the prior-year period on better pricing. Casual dining operators have tried to entice consumers during the recession by offering more value-oriented menu options, as many consumers have chosen to eat at home more in an effort to save money. AFC said global sales at restaurants open at least a year dipped 1 percent in the quarter compared with a 2.1 percent decline a year ago. Sales at domestic restaurants open at least a year also fell 1 percent in the quarter ended Dec. 27. AFC posted a 2.8 percent decline in this category a year earlier. The overseas sales figure edged down 0.8 percent in the quarter, compared with a 4.1 percent increase in the prior-year period. Sales at restaurants open at least a year are a key indicator of a restaurant operator’s performance since they measure growth at existing restaurants rather than newly opened ones. For fiscal 2009, global sales at restaurants open at least a year edged up 0.7 percent, within range of AFC’s outlook for sales to be at the lower end of flat to up 2 percent. The company opened 44 new Popeyes locations in the quarter, with 95 total openings in the fiscal year. It closed 81 restaurants during fiscal 2009. Popeyes had 1,943 restaurants at fiscal 2009’s end.