Restaurant Brands New Zealand lifted second-quarter sales as the fast-food operator's expansion to Australia and Hawaii brought in more cash.

Sales increased 12 per cent to $251 million in the 16 weeks ended September 10, the company said. That puts first-half sales 12 per cent ahead of last year at $431m.

New Zealand's largest fast-food operator is expanding into overseas markets to drive earnings growth.

The company, which operates the KFC, Pizza Hut, Starbucks Coffee and Carl's Jr brands in New Zealand, has expanded its business to KFC in Australia and Taco Bell and Pizza Hut in Hawaii.


Total store numbers lifted by eight compared with the same period last year after the company acquired a further 13 KFC stores in Australia. They were offset by the sale of five New Zealand Pizza Hut stores to independent franchisees.

Almost half its sales, or 47 per cent, were generated overseas in the latest quarter. Australia was the biggest contributor to growth, increasing sales by 44 per cent to $60.6m. Sales in Hawaii increased 10 per cent to $57.6m.

New Zealand sales, which account for 53 per cent of total sales, advanced 1.7 per cent to $132.8m. The bulk of New Zealand sales were generated by the company's 94 KFC stores, which lifted revenue 4.9 per cent to $104.3m in the quarter.

Revenue from its local Pizza Hut stores fell 14 per cent to $11.3m in the quarter, which included four of the five store sales to independent franchisees. That took the number of stores it owns to 29, with 69 operated by independent franchisees. Total sales across the Pizza Hut network increased 2.1 per cent to $32.5m.

The company pulled in $7.3m of revenue from the 22 New Zealand Starbucks Coffee stores. It is selling the chain local operators next month after two decades of operation.

The firm's newest New Zealand brand, burger chain Carl's Jr, recorded a 7.3 per cent drop in sales to $9.9m from its 18 stores, one fewer than the year-earlier period.

Restaurant Brands expects to publish its first-half earnings on October 18.

Its shares last traded at $7.66, and have increased 21 per cent during the past year.