The recent bird flu scare dragged KFC's sales in China in July down by 13 percent from the beginning of the year, according to statistics released Tuesday by Yum! Brands Inc., KFC's parent company.
Data show that KFC's same-store sales in the Chinese market declined 16 percent last month, but the company said it expects to see same-store sales rebound later in 2013 and even increase by the fourth quarter.
The company attributed the slump to the adverse impact of several food chain scandals last year and the bird flu outbreak earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Pizza Hut, another popular chain owned by Yum! Brands, reported a 3-percent increase in sales in July, but it has not released more specific figures.
China is one of the most important markets around the world for the company based in Louisville, Kentucky, which has over 3,800 KFC restaurants on the Chinese mainland.
The company opened its first KFC restaurant in 1987 in downtown Beijing, the starting point for its rapid expansion in China. The number of KFC franchise restaurants in Beijing exploded from 100 in 2003 to 200 and 300 in 2008 and 2012, respectively.