Share Name Share Symbol Market Type
McDonalds Corp NYSE:MCD NYSE Common Stock
  Price Change % Change Share Price High Price Low Price Open Price Shares Traded Last Trade
  0.62 0.31% 199.98 0.00 0.00 0.00 9,030 14:21:24

McDonald's U.S. Same-Store Sales Fall 4% in February -- 2nd Update

09/03/2015 4:58pm

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By Annie Gasparro 

McDonald's Corp. key sales measure for its U.S. restaurants plunged last month, underlining the challenge for new Chief Executive Steve Easterbrook in turning around the world's largest fast-food chain.

Sales at McDonald's U.S. restaurants open at least 13 months fell 4% in February from a year earlier, compared to analysts' expectation of a 0.7% drop, according to Consensus Metrix. Globally, the drop in same-store sales was 1.7%, compared to expectations for a 0.3% decline.

The weak performance capped the tenure of former CEO Don Thompson, whom Mr. Easterbrook replaced on March 1. The U.S. sales drop came despite a much-trumpeted marketing campaign designed to help rejuvenate McDonald's image-including its first Super Bowl television advertisement in eight years--in which some customers could pay for meals by performing friendly acts.

McDonald's said its poor performance "reflects the urgent need to evolve with today's consumers, reset strategic priorities and restore business momentum." The company aims to reassert itself as a "modern, progressive burger company" in response to changing customer needs and preferences, it said-echoing comments Mr. Easterbrook has made in recent weeks.

McDonald's shares gained about 0.7% in midday trading Monday, leaving them up more than 10% since Mr. Easterbrook's appointment was announced on Jan. 28.

McDonald's has struggled for over two years, posting its worst sales performance in more than a decade, as Americans choose rivals that seem fresher, and supplier-safety issues in Asia pile on to its problems.

Mr. Easterbrook already has made a splash, with the company last week announcing plans to curtail antibiotics use in its U.S. chicken over the next two years, becoming the biggest restaurant chain to make such a commitment. Also last week, McDonald's held what it called a Turnaround Summit for U.S. restaurant franchisees where executives attempted to boost morale and brainstorm menu ideas and other ways to win back customers.

Mark Kalinowski, an analyst at Janney Capital Markets who surveyed McDonald's U.S. franchisees, found that February started off strong with its Valentine's Day-themed promotion that allowed select customers to "Pay With Lovin'," getting their meals for free if they did something heartwarming, like high-five the cashier. But the poor second half of the month-battered with winter storms in much of the country-more than offset its early progress.

"While changes are in the works, we cannot identify a near-term catalyst to spur sales," Sterne Agee analyst Lynne Collier said in a note to investors.

In Asia, a food-safety scandal with one of its meat suppliers continues to weigh on sales, and delays at West Coast ports held up some food shipments. McDonald's same-store sales in its Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa region fell 4.4%, while analysts had expected a 3.1% decline.

Europe offered a bright spot. McDonald's same-store sales rose 0.7%, topping analysts' expectations, as the U.K. and Germany helped offset weakness in Russia.

Chelsey Dulaney contributed to this article.

Write to Annie Gasparro at

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