Yum's China restaurant sales jump as KFC bounces back

(Reuters) - KFC parent Yum Brands Inc on Wednesday said second-quarter sales at established restaurants in China, its No. 1 market, jumped 15 percent as it recovers from an avian flu outbreak and a food safety scare that slashed demand for chicken last year.

Yum's restaurant sales in China included a 21 percent increase at KFC and flat results at Pizza Hut Casual Dining.

Analysts polled by Consensus Metrix were expecting Yum's China sales to climb 11.4 percent for the second quarter.

Those sales tumbled 20 percent in the second quarter last year.

Yum recently revamped its product lineup to attract more diners. In late March, KFC changed its menus to include 15 items that were either completely new or formerly only available as limited-time offers. Yum's China Division, which had 6,387 mostly KFC restaurants at the end of the second quarter, contributed 35 percent of the company's total operating profit last year.

Louisville, Kentucky-based Yum also reported net income of $334 million, or 73 cents per share, for the second quarter that ended June 14, compared with $281 million, or 61 cents per share, a year earlier. The company, which will hold a conference call with financial analysts on Thursday morning, said it is on its way to hitting its forecast full-year earnings per share growth of at least 20 percent.

Shares of Yum, which gets more than half of its sales from China, fell 1.2 percent to $81.75 in after-hours trading.

(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Jan Paschal and Chris Reese)