McDonald's sales in US edge up for first time in 2 years

AP News
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Posted: Oct 22, 2015 9:08 AM
McDonald's sales in US edge up for first time in 2 years

NEW YORK (AP) — McDonald's sales edged up at established U.S. locations during the third quarter, snapping a streak of about two years of quarterly declines.

The world's largest burger chain also said sales rose 4 percent on a global basis at established locations. In the U.S., the figure rose 0.9 percent. The last time the figure rose in the U.S. was for the third quarter of 2013.

Shares appeared to be heading for an all-time high shortly before the opening bell Thursday.

McDonald's is trying to spark a turnaround under CEO Steve Easterbrook, who took over in March. Earlier this month, the chain introduced "all-day breakfast," which lets people order items like the Egg McMuffin whenever they want.

The chain has also said it is looking to replace its Dollar Menu. McDonald's has moved away from the popular feature, which was introduced in 2002, as costs for ingredients like beef and cheese have climbed and made it difficult for franchisees to make money.

The company needs to make up lost ground. In the year ago period, sales declined 3.3 percent at established U.S. locations as customer visits dropped. McDonald's has acknowledged that it failed to keep up with changing tastes and that service suffered as its menu mushroomed over the years.

To win back customers, McDonald's is also making other nips and tucks, like toasting its buns longer and searing burgers to lock in flavor. Easterbrook has said he wants to transform McDonald's into a "modern, progressive burger company."

Easterbrook expects comparable sales to be positive for the fourth quarter in all segments. In the U.S., the fourth quarter would reflect the beginnings of the all-day breakfast rollout.

The company, based in Oak Brook, Illinois, has more than 36,000 locations around the world.

For the three months ended Sept. 30, the company said Australia and the United Kingdom delivered a strong performance. In China, where it was hit with supplier problems, McDonald's said its sales performance was "very strong."

For the quarter, McDonald's Corp. earned $1.31 billion, or $1.40 per share, topping the $1.27 per share analysts expected.

Revenue was $6.62 billion, also above the $6.41 Wall Street expected, according to FactSet.

Shares jumped nearly 7 percent to $109.40.