The components of earnings (loss) per common share were
SYSTEM SALES increased $511 million or 4% in 1998. The increase was attributable to new unit development, primarily by franchisees and licensees of Taco Bell and, to a lesser extent, KFC, and positive same store sales growth at all three of our brands. These increases were partially offset by the impact of store closures.
The 1997 increase of $114 million or 1% in system sales was primarily due to new unit development, principally by franchisees and licensees at Taco Bell. This increase was partially offset by the impact of store closures.
REVENUES decreased $937 million or 13% primarily due to our decline in Company sales of $981 million or 14% in 1998. Excluding the effect of the Non-core Businesses, our Company sales decreased $715 million or 11%. The decline in Company sales was driven by the portfolio effect partially offset by positive same store sales growth at all three of our brands.
We measure same store sales only for our U.S. Company units. Same store sales at Pizza Hut increased 6% in 1998. The increase reflects a higher check average at traditional and delivery units driven by the new product offerings of "The Edge" and the "Sicilian" pizzas as well as the promotion of the "Stuffed Crust" Pizza. The increase was partially offset by volume declines. KFC's same store sales increased 3% in 1998. The improvement was primarily driven by favorable effective net pricing and strong product promotions including "Popcorn Chicken," "Honey Barbecue" wings and "Original Recipe." Same store sales for Taco Bell increased 3% in 1998. The increase was driven by an increase in average guest check resulting primarily from favorable effective net pricing. Same store sales also benefited from the introduction of "Gorditas," a higher priced menu item. The increase was partially offset by volume declines.