MIAMI-Burger King Holdings will show its first net restaurant gains in the US and Canada in six years in 2008, executives said at the company’s first quarter conference call. The company also says it plans an expansion of a net increase of 300 units worldwide, with approximately 80% located outside the US, said John Chidsey, CEO. The beginning of the second quarter already saw a burst of expansion, with 80 restaurants opened in October, he said.

“Our development plan is on track, and we are off to a great start,” Chidsey said. “Our worldwide development pipeline is strong.”

In the past 12 months, the company and its franchisees opened 440 new Burger King restaurants, including 90 in the US and Canada, 260 in the Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific segment (EMEA/APAC), and 90 in Latin America. With closures, Burger King gained new 146 restaurants worldwide last year.

For the quarter, revenues were $602 million, up 10% from the previous year. Comparable restaurant sales rose 5.9% worldwide, with the US and Canada posting comp sales increases of 6.6%. The Burger King system operates more than 11,200 restaurants in the US, 69 countries and US territories worldwide.

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