March 24, 2020 / 8:47 PM / 15 days ago

Yum Brands expects bigger hit to second-quarter same-store sales from coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: The sign at a Pizza Hut location, which is owned by Yum Brands Inc, is pictured in Pasadena, California U.S., July 11, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

(Reuters) - Yum Brands Inc (YUM.N) said on Tuesday it expects the coronavirus to impact its second-quarter same-store sales more significantly than in the first quarter, as the fast-spreading virus affects customer traffic at its stores globally.

The company highlighted early signs of a sales recovery in markets that were first impacted by the outbreak, but said there would be no assurance of continued improvement.

As of Tuesday, Yum Brands estimates first-quarter same-store sales declines in a mid- to high-single digits range.

More than 395,500 people have been infected by the novel coronavirus across nearly 200 countries, prompting lockdowns and business disruptions.

The company said in a regulatory filing it would also suspend its previously announced $2 billion share repurchase programme.

Yum China said on Monday its business was in the early stages of recovery, weeks after the fast-food chain operator closed over a third of its outlets at the peak of the coronavirus outbreak, which originated in the country.

Yum China, the exclusive licensee of the KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell brands in China, was spun off from Yum Brands in 2016.

Reporting by Saumya Sibi Joseph in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

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