* Sees global comparable sales slightly lower in April
* 1st-quarter profit $1.26/share vs Street view $1.27
* Shares off 1.4 percent at midday
By Lisa Baertlein and Jessica Wohl
April 19 Almost a year after taking over at
McDonald's Corp, Chief Executive Don Thompson is still
looking for the right recipe to expand restaurant sales, which
are being pinched by the weak global economy and stronger
competition from revived rivals.
The world's biggest fast-food chain on Friday dashed hopes
that its restaurant sales would accelerate this spring, warning
that global sales at established restaurants would be slightly
lower in April.
The forecast sent McDonald's shares down 1.4 percent to
$100.46 in midday trading.
A week ago, the shares hit a record high above $103 on
expectations that results would improve in the second half of
2013, when the chain would no longer be up against year-earlier
U.S. results that were bolstered by unseasonably warm winter
When Thompson took the top job at McDonald's in July, the
chain had been on a long winning streak and had a big lead over
That faltered when global economic weakness and intensified
pressure from formerly weak but more nimble chains such as
Burger King Worldwide Inc, Wendy's Co and Yum
Brands Inc's Taco Bell caused its global-same restaurant
sales to weaken.
McDonald's results were expected to improve in April because
the company would only have to top 3.3 percent growth in global
restaurant sales in April 2012. By comparison, sales were up a
whopping 7.7 percent in March 2012. Thompson also had increased
low-cost offerings worldwide and has plans for new menu items in
the United States, where it recently rolled out new wrap
The McDonald's forecast for April "does put a little bit of
a damper on the theory that as soon as comparisons got easier,
comps were going to take off," Bernstein Research analyst Sara
While investors and analysts are giving Thompson and his
management team time to revive restaurant sales, they could get
impatient as the year wears on.
"There will be some pressure on the guys to pick up the
pace," Edward Jones analyst Jack Russo said.
In addition, McDonald's reported a first-quarter profit that
fell short of Wall Street expectations as global comparable
sales fell 1 percent - slightly less than the 1.1 percent
decline forecast by analysts polled by Consensus Metrix.
Net income inched up 0.3 percent to $1.27 billion, or $1.26
per share. Analysts, on average, were looking for $1.27 per
share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
First-quarter revenue rose 0.9 percent to nearly $6.61
billion, higher than the $6.59 billion estimated by analysts.
The "challenging" global environment and profit pressures
are expected to persist, Thompson said in a statement.
Cautious spending is not limited to the United States.
McDonald's Japan plans to introduce a new "Value Pick" line
starting on May 7, including the value-priced McDouble sandwich.
It also is revising prices - cutting the price of its small
french fries but raising the prices of its hamburgers and