US fastfood giant Yum! Brands has reported a 23% increase in international system sales, which includes sales from company-owned, franchise, license, and joint-venture restaurants, for the four-week period to 20 March.

Sales rose 13% before conversion to US dollars. For the whole of the first quarter, which ended 20 March, international system sales rose 8% in local currencies, or 18% after conversion to US dollars.

Estimated US blended same-store sales at company restaurants, which include sales from KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell company-owned US outlets only, increased 4% during the four-week period and 4% for the first quarter, as higher Taco Bell and Pizza Hut sales offset declines at KFC.

As the company has previously indicated, sales in Asian markets have been impacted by the avian flu situation. Yum! Brands said sales are no longer being impacted in China, the company’s largest Asian market. Sales in other smaller Asian markets have stabilised and are recovering. The short-term adverse impact of the avian-flu situation in Asia will be reflected in the company’s second-quarter results.