Hit by tighter consumer purse strings, Kentucky Fried Chicken Japan Ltd. announced Thursday that its consolidated net profit dropped 15.2 percent to 1.38 billion yen in the business year that ended in November.

The operator of Kentucky Fried Chicken fast food restaurants and the Pizza Hut chain said group sales dropped 5.2 percent in the 2002 business year from a year earlier to 80.53 billion yen.

The company’s fried chicken operation fared poorly, with sales at 64.37 billion yen, down from 70.83 billion yen. Same-store sales declined 4.2 percent.

The Pizza Hut division, however, showed strong growth, thanks to a new menu and strong sales during the soccer World Cup finals, held in June. The segment posted revenue of 16.13 billion yen during the year, up from 12.81 billion yen.

Officials said Golden Cheese Crust, a pizza product introduced in October 2001, helped boost same-store sales by 11.7 percent from a year earlier, adding that sales in June posted 32.8 percent year-on-year growth thanks to a spike in orders attributed to World Cup couch potatoes.

For the current year to November, the firm projects a group net profit of 1.6 billion yen on revenue of 82 billion yen.

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