McDonald’s Corp. (MCD), the world’s largest restaurant chain, said sales at stores open at least 13 months rose 0.7 percent last month, topping analysts’ estimates, as new wraps and breakfast food attracted U.S. diners.
Analysts projected a 0.4 percent gain, the average of 15 estimates compiled by Consensus Metrix. Same-store sales in the U.S. rose 1.6 percent, the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company said today in a statement. Analysts projected a 0.3 percent increase.
The 34,700-restaurant chain has introduced new menu items in the U.S. this year, including chicken McWraps and egg-white breakfast sandwiches, to compete with Burger King Worldwide Inc. (BKW) and Wendy’s Co., which are rolling out new food. McDonald’s also is advertising its Dollar Menu in the U.S. and combo meals in France and Germany, its largest European markets, to attract cash-strapped consumers.
“Their breakfast business has been strong,” and the egg-white sandwich probably helped boost July sales, Peter Saleh, a New York-based analyst at Telsey Advisory Group, said in an interview. “As the economy improves and you get job growth, more and more people are now driving to work and so they tend to go through the drive-through.”
McDonald’s fell 0.3 percent to $98.04 at the close in New York. The shares have climbed 11 percent this year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Restaurants Index has gained 18 percent.
The U.S. economy grew more than projected in the second quarter, showing the country may be overcoming higher taxes and cuts in government spending. Consumer spending also is increasing, which may be helping McDonald’s sell more burgers. U.S. spending rose 1.8 percent during the second quarter, topping analysts’ estimates.
Same-store sales fell 1.9 percent in both Europe and the company’s Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa region. Analysts projected a 0.3 percent increase and 0.3 percent drop, respectively, according to Consensus Metrix, a researcher owned by Kaul Advisory Group in Wayne, New Jersey.
Comparable-store sales are considered an indicator of a company’s growth because they only include older, established locations.
July store sales fell in Germany and France, where McDonald’s has about 2,700 stores.
The chain is “going to face some tough economies around the world,” Chief Executive Officer Don Thompson said on July 22 during a conference call. “Based on our recent sales trends, our results for the rest of the year are expected to remain challenged.”
McDonald’s, which gets about 40 percent of its revenue from Europe, has advertised 4.50 euro baguette sandwich and drink combos in France to attract diners. In Germany, the chain is promoting new snack salads and wraps with arugula and couscous, along with value meals.
About 19 percent of McDonald’s locations worldwide are owned by the company.
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