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Pizza Hut suffers £12m loss as rivals slice up market

Pizza Hut UK suffered hefty losses for the third consecutive year in 2009, as it continued to face fierce competition.

The chain with 710 outlets, owned by the US group Yum Brands, blamed tough UK trading conditions resulting from declining consumer confidence. Pizza Hut posted pre-tax losses of £12.12m for the 52 weeks to November 29, 2009, a slight improvement on the £13.31m loss the previous year. The firm's last UK profit of £6.88m came in 2006.

The loss reinforces the view that Pizza Hut's has failed to keep up with the dining-out aspirations of British people in the way its more upmarket rival, Pizza Express, has. Meantime, Domino's deliveries are booming.

Steve Gotham, the project director at Allegra Strategies, said Pizza Hut was "a slightly tired brand". "Pizza Express, Prezzo and Bella Italia have been a bit more aspirational and innovative in terms of new products on the menu and their interiors."

A spokeswoman for Pizza Hut said the firm "continues to focus on providing the best experience for customers through store re-models, menu innovation and expansion of its delivery service".

The chain also opened 20 Pasta Huts in 2006.