Fast-food company Yum Brands Inc. reported a 31 percent jump in first-quarter profit on Tuesday, citing robust growth in its China and international divisions and steady results in the U.S.

Yum said it earned $254 million, or 50 cents a share, up from $194 million, or 35 cents, in the year-ago period. At the time of its last earnings report, the company boosted its 2008 profit target from $1.82 to $1.85 per share.

The quarter included a pre-tax gain of $100 million from the sale of a minority interest in KFC Japan, a pre-tax charge of $26 million related to refranchising in the U.S., and a pre-tax charge of $6 million related to the company's U.S. restructuring, the company said in a statement.

Sales rose 8 percent to $2.41 billion. Same-store sales or those at locations open more than a year, climbed 4 percent worldwide.

Yum shares ended the Tuesday trading session down 1.5 percent at $38.49.

The Louisville-based company said U.S. same-store sales rose 3 percent in the quarter. Same-store sales in China rose 12 percent which caused an overall rise in international same-store sales of 5 percent.

David Novak, chief executive, said in a statement that while U.S. profits are feeling the strain of high commodity prices, the stronger results were driven by outstanding operating-profit growth from our China and [international] businesses. The global growth we are achieving . . . is among the best in the retail sector as we are driving robust same-store-sales growth, record-level new-unit development and excellent returns.

Yum Brands operates the KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver's and A&W All-American Foods fast-food chains.