Bird Flu Sickening KFC Sales

Yum Brands cites 'significant, negative impact' in China

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 11, 2013 4:39 AM CDT

(Newser) – Colonel Sanders has a bird flu problem. The H7N9 virus, which has killed nine people, has had a "significant, negative impact on KFC sales" in China, Yum Brands revealed in a regulatory filing yesterday. That's no small problem for the company: China is responsible for more than half of Yum's revenue, the BBC reports.

The AP reports that the bird flu-related hit will be visible in April's sales results—the first cases were reported March 31—but March's numbers weren't so hot: Sales at KFC locations in China open at least a year fell 16%. The concerns come on the heels of reports that Yum's chickens were receiving excessive antibiotics. The firm will keep reminding customers that cooked chicken is safe, it says, in hopes of avoiding the same fate brought on by 2005's bird flu: sales drops of as much as 40%.

Chinese women walk past a customer eating inside a KFC restaurant at a shopping mall in Beijing Monday, Feb. 25, 2013.   (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
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