Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Restaurant Brands: KFC Sales Figures Explained - Part 2

I am back to explaining the latest quarterly KFC sales regarding Restaurant Brands [RBD.NZ] to shareholders because the company and business media seem to keep ignoring the bogeyman of inflation.

It is something I have mentioned many times before but it must be stressed once again because Restaurant Brands shareholders and prospective investors in the company must be given the full picture when it comes to RBD managements disclosure over their KFC sales.

The "record" $54 million of sales reported in today's result for KFC is only a record in terms of 2010 dollars. KFC are actually serving up less chicken to fewer customers.

Their best listed year was in 1997 where they did $172.3 million in KFC sales. That is because of accumulated inflation at a very conservative 3% annually over the last 13 years amounts to 39%.

Now lets assume conservatively that RBD sell $220 million of KFC for the full year 2010 and compare that figure to the 1997 record year.

39% inflation means in 2010 dollars RBD would have to sell $67.2 million more chicken just to match the record made in 1997.

$220 million is a fair way from the figure they need to make, of $239.5 million, just to match the 1997 record.

I am not an accountant and nor do I think I need to be but if such emphasis of "record sales" is placed on a figure by RBD management to gain market approval that the expenditure of 10s of millions of shareholder funds on KFC refurbishment in order to attain those sales then that figure should be clearly accurate and take inflation into account. That is simply not the case here.

Granted one can do the math oneself to come up with relative figures and compare year by year sales but having said that, to use current sales figures as a tool to push further shareholder expenditure must be justified to the nearest decimal point.

RBD's figures therefore do not pass this test and furthermore for analysts and business reporters to accept this without question is surely remiss to some extent.

Still my record with this company probably goes back longer than many on the RBD board or those professional stock analysts in their professional capacity.

To say KFC are improving sales is true but to say the KFC product is selling in record numbers is highly misleading, to the market and to its shareholders. In order to show a decent "recovery" of the brands sales that justify the hoopla from RBD management and braindead business writers KFC sales would at have to get nearer to $300 million per annum, than the $220 million it is now achieving.

Once again, I am not an accountant but I would like to see inflation taken into account when businesses do their books, at lease an annotation in the audited reports of what the inflation rate was in the last year so a stockholder or a prospective stockholder can make a fully accurate comparison before they decide to buy, or not as the case may be.

I am a big fan of the KFC product.

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