McDonald's Sales Are (Still) in a Slump

The company’s same-store sales continued to decline in November
Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

With more than 35,800 global stores, McDonalds is still the world's largest fast-food chain. It just might not be the most relevant where consumer tastes are concerned—and newly released data indicate that the problem isn't going away. 

The burger chain reported this morning, Dec. 8, that same-store sales in November fell 4.6 percent in the U.S.—the biggest drop in more than a decade—and 2.2 percent globally. McDonald's same-store sales in the U.S. haven’t been positive since they rose 0.2 percent in October 2013.  

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McDonald’s said in July that it would be taking 18 months to reposition itself as an inexpensive and desirable place to eat. The company is continuing to modernize its image through store renovations, mobile apps, and technology upgrades (such as Apple Pay) to become “a true leader in the digital space,” as spokeswoman Becca Hary put it in an e-mail. In some markets, McDonalds is also testing table service, localized versions of menu items, and customized burgers. 

These improvements are part of what McDonald's is calling the "Experience of the Future"—and the future is just around the corner. The chain will implement these changes through 2015, so by the end of next year we should have a clearer picture of whether the company's sales slump will drag on.