McDonald's U.S. sales continue to struggle in February

Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:11am EDT
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By Phil Wahba

(Reuters) - McDonald's Corp (MCD.N: Quote) on Monday reported a bigger-than-expected drop in comparable global sales for February, hurt again by slow business in the United States.

The world's biggest restaurant chain by revenue said worldwide sales at restaurants open at least 13 months fell 0.3 percent last month. That was below analysts' average estimate for a fall of 0.1 percent, according to Consensus Metrix.

U.S. same-restaurant sales fell 1.4 percent, worse than the 0.6 percent decline that analysts had forecast.

McDonald's Chief Financial Officer Pete Bensen said in a press release that the unchanged global comparable sales so far this year "will pressure margins" in the first quarter.

McDonald's has reported nearly two years of turbulent sales at established U.S. restaurants amid sluggish economic growth, increased competition and internal missteps that have complicated its menus and slowed service.

That performance is heaping pressure on Don Thompson, the chief executive of McDonald's since July 2012, who will face new challenges this year.

Beef prices are hovering near record highs and expected to keep climbing. Labor costs also are increasing: several states have raised their minimum wage this year.

Thompson said in a statement that McDonald's is "intent on improving our business performance." McDonald's said it is trying to draw more customers by improving customer service and menu changes.   Continued...

The corporate logo of McDonald's Corp fast food chain is seen on display in the Malaysian town of Pekan May 4, 2013. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad