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McDonald's Chalks Up Its Very Bad Year to Widespread Misunderstandings

McDonald’s is having a very bad year, and executives believe at least part of the blame is that the world’s biggest burger chain is misunderstood. The troubled financial results reported on Tuesday only added to the dark clouds around McDonald’s: Sales fell 3.3 percent in established U.S. restaurants last quarter, and overall profits dropped 30 percent.

“By all measures,” Chief Executive Don Thompson said in a statement, “our performance fell short of our expectations.” In a call with analysts, Thompson used the word “aggressive” an awful lot: McDonald’s is moving aggressively, looking aggressively, and assessing its aggressiveness.