* One less day in February to impact sales this month
* Shares down modestly in premarket trading
Feb 8 McDonald's Corp said on Friday
that January sales at established restaurants around the world
fell 1.9 percent, a steeper decline than expected as fast-food
chains fight for diners.
McDonald's warned last month that same-restaurant sales
would be down. Analysts polled by Consensus Metrix had expected
a decline of 1.1 percent.
Shares of McDonald's, which had fallen earlier in the week,
slipped 3 cents to $94.60 in premarket trading.
McDonald's expected sales and profit growth to be under
pressure in the near term, as diners spend cautiously due to
lackluster economic growth in most major markets. At the same
time, the leading fast food chain is comparing against strong
results from a year ago, including a 6.7 percent gain in
same-restaurant sales in January 2012.
February comparable sales will be hit by about 3 percentage
points because the 2012 period included an extra day due to the
leap year, McDonald's said. In February 2012, the sales rose 7.5
Comparable sales in Europe, McDonald's top market, declined
2.1 percent last month, with weakness in Germany and France.
Analysts expected an increase of almost 0.1 percent.
The United States, a close No. 2, posted a 0.9 percent gain,
helped in part by the addition of the Grilled Onion Cheddar
burger to its Dollar Menu. U.S. results exceeded analysts'
target for a 0.3 percent decline.
Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa (APMEA) turned in a 9.5
percent decline, despite strength in Australia - steeper than
the 5.8 percent analysts had anticipated. McDonald's cited
continued weakness in Japan and the shift in the timing of the
Chinese New Year.
Scares over the safety of China's chicken supply also took a
small bite out of McDonald's sales there. Chinese authorities
cleared McDonald's and KFC owner Yum Brands Inc of
charges they had served chicken laced with excessive chemicals.
The U.S. chains, long considered to serve safer and higher
quality food than domestic chains, remained under fire from
local media and consumers in recent weeks.
McDonald's comparable sales track all company-owned and
franchised restaurants open for at least 13 months.