After market close yesterday, Yum! Brands, Inc. reported fourth quarter earnings per share (EPS) up 13 percent and full year EPS up 15 percent to $2.36 over comparable 2003 periods.

Worldwide consolidated system same store sales grew 2 percent for the quarter and 3 percent for the year. The company added 426 stores worldwide for the year, an increase of 1 percent.

In the U.S., systemwide consolidated same store sales grew 3 percent as opposed to even in 2003. The number of U.S. units actually decreased by 1 percent. For the fourth quarter and full year, U.S. restaurant margins declined by 2.1 and 0.8 percentage points respectively, mainly as a result of significantly higher commodity costs (primarily meats and cheese) partially offset by same-store-sales growth.

International revenues grew a healthy 19 percent on systemwide same store sales growth of 15 percent for the year. International units increased by 5 percent for the year.

Yum! generated record cash flow of over $1.1 billion for the year.

Of the future, Chairman and CEO David Novak said, “Shareholders should expect us to continue to build value by executing the unique growth opportunities that differentiate us from the competition and make us anything but an ordinary restaurant company: building dominant restaurant brands in China, driving profitable international expansion, improving restaurant operations, and multibranding category-leading brands.”

The company expects full year 2005 EPS to ring in up 10 percent to $2.60 per share before special items.

News, Yum! Brands