Restaurant Brands NZ, the fast food franchises owner, reported a 1.8 per cent increase in third quarter sales, again led by a strong performance at its KFC franchise.

Total sales rose to $74.2 million in the three months to December
6, compared to $72.9 million in the same period last year, while same store sales also rose 1.8 per cent to $71.7 million, the company said in statement today.

On a year to date basis, sales rose 3.3 per cent to $250 million compared to the previous year, with same store sales up 4 per cent to $243.7 million.

The improved performance was predominantly driven by the company's KFC franchise, with sales up 6.2 per cent in the period to $54.6 million due to an ongoing store transformation programme, strong operations, new product launches, and the addition of one new store in Hamilton.

Same store sales rose 3.9 per cent to $55.1 million over the same period.

Pizza Hut sales fell 12 per cent in the three months to $12.9 million, with a decline in the number of stores weighing on performance.

Restaurant Brands closed three stores in the quarter, with two sold to franchisees as part of its store sell down programme, and closure of the Miramar branch.

That brings total Pizza Hit stores numbers to 85, seven lower than the previous year.

Same store sales fell $5.8 per cent to 12.8 million, which was rolling over a 1.9 per cent increase in the prior year.

Starbucks, the company's American coffee franchise, saw sales decline 3.3 per cent to $6.7 million in the quarter, after the nonperforming Ponsonby store in Auckland was closed.

Same store sales rose 1 per cent in the period to $6.7 million on the back of improved operations and Christmas merchandising.

The shares were unchanged at $2.61, and have surged 55 per cent this year.