McDonald’s sales gauge falls short

AP, Saturday 10 Mar 2012

McDonald’s Corp. said a key revenue figure came in short of expectations in February as severe weather in parts of Europe and the timing of the Chinese New Year hurt its performance.

The world’s biggest hamburger chain also noted it is navigating through “persistent economic uncertainty, austerity measures in Europe and commodity and labor cost pressures, particularly in the US.’’

The Oak Brook, Ill., company said the challenges are expected to hurt its first-quarter operating income growth.

For February, revenue in restaurants open at least 13 months rose 7.5 per cent, driven by an extra day in the Leap Year and strong results in the United States.

But that still fell short of the 7.7 per cent increase, on average, that analysts were expecting, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters.

McDonald’s said its strongest performance last month was in the United States, where new menu items like Chicken McBites and breakfast staples helped increase revenue 11.1 per cent.

But in Europe, which is McDonald’s largest market by revenue, the metric rose by just 4 per cent.

The figure rose by 2.4 per cent in the region made up of Asia, the Middle East and Africa region, where the company is focusing its expansion efforts this year.

Revenue in restaurants open at least 13 months is a key measure; it excludes the impact of recently opened or closed stores. 

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