Dec. 19, 2013, 8:29 AM
- Consumer Reports reports that close to 50% of all the raw chicken breasts it sampled in the U.S. during a study tested positive for "superbug" bacteria.
- The publication suggests a new law should be implemented to restrict antibiotic use with livestock in order to reduce the occurrence of the dangerous bacteria in food.
- Chicken sellers face a risk of higher costs if regulations tighten.
- Related stocks: TSN, SAFM, YUM, BWLD, PPC, HRL.
Dec. 6, 2013, 3:36 PM
- Yum Brands (YUM -0.1%) says KFC China knocked out a modest 1% gain in comparable store sales for November, but how the company got there might be an issue.
- Though moving into positive growth after slips in September and October looks promising, KFC's comp sales growth after a promotion expired on November 10 was -8% Y/Y.
- Early channel checks for December also indicate the chain may struggle to meet last year's pace of sales at comparable stores. While higher foods costs in China which could pressure margins if KFC stays promotional are also a concern.
Dec. 4, 2013, 3:14 PM
- Congressional Democrats have written a letter to McDonald's (MCD -0.9%), Burger King (BKW -0.6%), Yum! Brands (YUM +0.1%), Wendy's (WEN -1%), and Domino's Pizza (DPZ +0.7%) management urging the restaurateurs to raise wages for store workers. "Too many hard-working families are being forced to depend on poverty-level wages," the letter, which was signed by 53 members, reads.
- The moves comes as fast-food workers in over 100 cities plan to strike for $15/hour pay tomorrow. President Obama has voiced support for a pending bill that would raise the minimum wage to $10.10/hour from $7.25 and index it to inflation.
- If steam gets behind the movement, fast-food operators could experience significant margin pressure. Employee expenses represented 25.6% of sales at McDonald's in the 9 months ended Sept. 30, for instance, already up from 25.2% in the comparable period in 2012.
Dec. 4, 2013, 7:40 AM
- A survey of Chinese consumers finds 40% say they have concerns about the levels of antibiotic use in chickens used by Yum Brands' (YUM) KFC chain.
- A marketing message from the company intended to soothe consumers appears to be backfiring with some reports indicating it's actually keeping the chicken chain linked to the issue.
- KFC same-store sales in China were flat for November.
- Also in the background: Bird virus concerns in Hong Kong.
Dec. 3, 2013, 7:09 AM
- Officials in Hong Kong confirmed the first case of H7N9 bird flu in the region this year.
- As a result of the incident, Hong Kong is on a public health alert and has suspended the import of live chickens from the mainland.
- Related stocks: Yum Brands (YUM)
Dec. 2, 2013, 4:44 PM
- Ahead of its annual investor meeting (runs from 8:45AM-2:00PM ET on Wednesday), YUM is reiterating guidance for 2013 to decline by a "high-single to low double-digit" percentage Y/Y, and for 2014 EPS to grow by "at least 20%." (PR)
- Yum expects to open at least 1,850 new international units in 2014, including 700 and 150 in China and India, respectively. KFC restaurants will account for at least 600 of the units, and Pizza Huts at least 400. Yum has already said it expects to open at least 700 units in China in 2013.
- The Chinese division's op. profit, hammered this year by the impact of Avian flu worries on KFC sales, is forecast to grow at least 40% next year. 2014 capex is expected to total $1.2B, or 8% of 2014E revenue. Diluted share count is expected to drop by 1% thanks to buybacks.
- Yum also reports its Chinese same-store sales rose 1% Y/Y in November, with KFC sales flat and Pizza Hut sales up 7%. That figure, aided by a Half Priced Bucket promotion at KFC over the first ten days of the month (led sales for those days to rise 16% Y/Y), represents an improvement from October's 5% decline and September's 11% drop.
Nov. 22, 2013, 3:08 PM
Nov. 22, 2013, 1:26 PM
- Yum Brands (YUM +4.2%) approves a $750M stock buyback allowance which comes on top of the company's existing repurchase plan.
- There's no question Yum is partial to giving cash back to investors. In the last five years, the restaurant chain operator has returned $5.8B to shareholders in dividends and through buybacks.
Nov. 21, 2013, 8:26 AM| 2 Comments
Nov. 20, 2013, 10:36 AM| Comment!
Nov. 14, 2013, 8:42 AM
- Scientists have determined that a woman in Taiwan was infected with H6N1 bird flu, a new strain that has created some worry in the region.
- Pharmaceutical companies have reported success in fighting various bird flu strains, but worries of a pandemic still persist with every variety not covered.
- Yum Brands (YUM) is one of the stocks most sensitive to bird flu news.
Nov. 12, 2013, 4:32 PM
- The October decline is much smaller than the 11% Y/Y decline YUM reported for September, and the 10% drop reported for August. It's arguably a sign the bird flu-related fears that have badly damaged Yum's 2013 Chinese sales are moderating a bit. (8-K)
- KFC same-store sales fell 7% in October vs. 13% in September. Pizza Hut Casual Dining sales fell 10%.
- Shares +0.7% AH
Oct. 23, 2013, 1:53 PM
- Another outbreak of the bird flu in China poses a concern for Yum Brands (YUM -2.8%), reasons Janney Capital Markets.
- The likelihood that more humans will contract the H7N9 illness in China at some point this winter and create a media firestorm is enough for the investment firm to reduce sales estimates on KFC China.
Oct. 22, 2013, 9:08 AM| Comment!
Oct. 18, 2013, 8:13 AM
- A major storm is brewing over the low wages paid to fast-food workers and the cost to U.S. taxpayers of the group's reliance on public safety nets as it lives off the sub-$10 per hour wages.
- The National Employment Law Project estimates it costs the public close to $7B to sustain the families of fast-food workers through initiatives such as food stamps, the Children's Health Insurance Program and the Earned Income Tax Credit.
- It's a cost that at some point the American public may demand be shared by the major players in the restaurant sector.
- Fast-food chains in focus: McDonald's (MCD), Burger King (BKW), Wendy's (WEN), Taco Bell (YUM), Dunkin' Donuts (DNKN), Subway.
Oct. 11, 2013, 10:33 AM
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