BEIJING Mcdonald's Corp (MCD.N), the world's largest fast-food chain, has cut some prices by as much as a third in China where once booming economic growth has slumped amid the global financial crisis.
In what the company calls "the best ever value meal combination" in China, McDonald's cut about 40 percent of prices, the company said. Fifty percent of its products were now selling at the same level as 10 years ago or lower.
Popular items with a downsized price include Filet-O-Fish, Double Cheeseburger, McNuggets, McPuff and the new Mala Pork Burger. The Big Mac was not mentioned in a company statement.
A growing number of Chinese restaurants and shops are reducing prices in a bid to lure customers and lift lackluster sales in a country where millions have been thrown out of work by the economic crisis.
Chief Executive Jim Skinner said late last year that the company was well positioned in the face of recession, because people would think twice about where to spend money when going out for food.
In China, one of the fastest growing markets for McDonald's, the number of customers had been stable, a company spokeswoman in Shanghai said.
The company also reaffirmed plans to open 175 restaurants and hire around 10,000 staff in China this year. Currently it operates 1,050 restaurants and hires more than 60,000 staff in China.
China's economic growth fell to 6.8 percent last quarter, dragging down the pace of expansion for all of 2008 to a seven-year low of 9.0 percent as the full force of the global financial crisis struck home.
Yum Brands Inc's (YUM.N), another U.S. restaurant operator, said on Wednesday its China sales had been "roughly in line to slightly below" expectations since early December. Its fourth-quarter same-store sales in China were up just 1 percent.
(Reporting by Michael Wei; Editing by Nick Macfie)