Chick-fil-A's annual sales up 12 percent

Feb. 1, 2013 | by Alicia Kelso

Despite a PR firestorm from president Dan Cathy's comments against gay marriage, Chick-fil-A experienced record sales in 2012.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the chain ended 2012 with $4.6 billion in sales, compared to its previous record of $4.1 billion last year.

During 2012, Chick-fil-A opened 96 stores, versus 92 the prior year.

Despite a social media backlash and promises of boycotts, Cathy's controversial statements also generated plenty of support, leading to a "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" during the summer that yielded a single-day sales record.

Meanwhile, as Chick-fil-A's sales grow, the chain's perception among consumers has dropped. It is no longer listed in the top five best-perceived limited-service brands as researched by YouGov BrandIndex.

Donations still being questioned

Also, conflicting reports have emerged about whether or not Chick-fil-A has ended its financial commitments to organizations that are considered anti-gay. These donations were the impetus behind Cathy's statements and the subsequent divisiveness.

A recent story on claimed that Chick-fil-A's philanthropic arm, WinShape Foundation, has ceased its donations to the organizations in question.

A national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered campus organization, Campus Pride, issued a statement claiming that its executive director, Shane Windmeyer, was given access to WinShape's tax documents proving the change.

However, media watchdog group Media Matters for America, released a statement shortly thereafter claiming that "in reality, the majority of the company's anti-gay donations remain unchanged."

The group continued: "If Windmeyer's claim that Chick-fil-A has stopped funding the most extreme anti-gay groups is true, the company would only have reduced its anti-gay donations by less than one percent.

"Windmeyer clarified in an interview with The Advocate that when he saw IRS tax forms, provided to him by Chick-fil-A officials, that several of the groups identified by (LGBT organization) Equality Matters are still indeed receiving donations."

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Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability , Marketing / Branding / Promotion , Operations Management

Alicia Kelso / Alicia has been a professional journalist for 15 years. Her work with, and has been featured in publications around the world, including NPR, Good Morning America, Voice of Russia radio, and Franchise Asia magazine.
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