Olympics take a slice out of Pizza Hut

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The Independent Online

Pizza Hut UK suffered widening losses last year and has warned that the Olympics had dampened otherwise improved trading this year, as families watched TV rather than visit restaurants.

Pizza Hut's owner Yum Brands earlier this year asked accountant PricewaterhouseCoopers to sell the British business to a "master franchiser" – Yum would still receive royalties – after a poor 2011. There are still a handful of potential private equity buyers, thought to include Endless, Rutland Partners and Risk Capital.

Jens Hofma, the Pizza Hut UK managing director, insisted that changes made in May 2011, such as offering a free unlimited salad with every meal, had helped the chain turn around its fortunes.

Mr Hofma said: "2011 was a year of two halves. The second half was much stronger and we saw quite a dramatic improvement in our performance."

Pizza Hut UK, which has 690 outlets, saw its losses increase by 15 per cent to £24.2m for the year to 4 December – its fifth consecutive year of losses. Its turnover slipped by 4 per cent to £330.96m.