Bird Flu Might Once Again Take a Bite Out of KFC's China Profits
By: Business Week January 31, 2014
Just as KFC's China sales began to improve, the spread of bird flu is once again threatening the chicken restaurant's recovery, this time ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday, typically a busy period for the chain. The New Year begins on Friday, Jan. 31.
The H7N9 avian influenza virus has infected 96 people in China this year, killing 19, reported Xinhua News. Shanghai will halt live poultry sales for three months starting Friday, and Hong Kong just initiated a three-week ban on live chicken sales after poultry imported from China tested positive for bird flu. Cities in Zhejiang province will also halt live poultry trading.
Yum! Brands, which is in a quiet period ahead of its earnings release next week, declined to comment on how the flu fear and poultry bans will affect business. But it's easy to see how a restaurant chain specializing in chicken might be affected.