McDonald's signals weak 2013 as U.S. rivals, Europe economy bite

Mon Jul 22, 2013 1:34pm EDT
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By Lisa Baertlein

(Reuters) - McDonald's Corp (MCD.N: Quote) on Monday dashed investor hopes that its business would strengthen in the second half of the year, blaming tougher competition in the U.S. and weaker sales in Europe.

The world's biggest restaurant chain by sales reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit and said it expects global same-restaurant sales in July to be relatively flat, sending its shares down almost 3 percent in midday trading.

"Based on recent sales trends, our results for the remainder of the year are expected to remain challenged," Chief Executive Don Thompson said in a statement.

Wall Street analysts had expected McDonald's business to pick up in the middle of this year as food inflation and other pressures ease.

"I would have liked to have seen them be a little more positive on things," Edward Jones analyst Jack Russo said.

The latest quarterly results from the seller of Big Mac hamburgers, french fries and Happy Meals heaps pressure on Thompson, who was promoted to the CEO position in July 2012, when the chain was enjoying a multi-year run of rising sales and profits.

Still, Russo said Wall Street would likely give the well-regarded McDonald's CEO a pass for a bit longer: "I don't see an operator in the United States or Europe really tearing it up."

Graphic on McDonald's results:   Continued...

A man holds a tray of food at a McDonald's restaurant in Times Square, New York in this May 31, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Mike Segar/Files