McDonald's Feb. US sales cooled by winter weather

Associated Press

OAK BROOK, Ill. (AP) — McDonald's said Monday that a key sales metric dropped 1.4 percent in the U.S. in February, yet again hurt by tough winter weather.

The world's largest hamburger chain was also hindered by difficult winter weather conditions in January.

The Oak Brook, Ill., company's February global sales at locations open at least 13 months dipped 0.3 percent. Company officials said that its muted year-to-date global comparable sales performance could hurt first-quarter profit margins.

Its shares slipped in premarket trading

In the Middle East, Africa and the Asia Pacific region, sales declined 2.6 percent mostly on softness in Japan as well as weakness in Australia and a shift in the timing of the Chinese New Year.

Europe was a bright spot, with sales up 0.6 percent on a strong performance in the U.K. and growth in France — but that was mostly offset by continued softness in Germany.

McDonald's Corp. has been dealing with competition from rivals like Burger King and Wendy's, who also have value menus and special offers.

It is also trying to adapt to shifting eating habits by introducing items that are positioned as healthy or fresh.

"We are intent on improving our business performance by thoughtfully evolving our approach to ensure that we are delivering the most compelling value, service and convenience to each of the approximately 70 million customers who choose McDonald's each day," President and CEO Don Thompson said in a statement.

Chief Financial Officer Pete Bensen said that the company is concentrating on strengthening its performance, but that relatively flat year-to-date global comparable sales will pressure its first-quarter margins.

McDonald's has more than 35,000 locations in more than 100 countries.

Its stock shed 17 cents to $95.33 in premarket trading about an hour before the market opens.