McDonald's Sales Slip as Americans' Eating Habits Shift

McDonald's February U.S. Sales Chilled by Weather
David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
By CANDICE CHOI
and MICHELLE CHAPMAN


NEW YORK -- McDonald's saw a key sales figure drop in the U.S. again last month as the world's biggest hamburger chain struggles to beat back competition and adapt to changing eating habits.

The company, based in Oak Brook, Ill., cited bad winter weather for a 1.4 percent decline at established U.S. locations. But it also conceded that "challenging industry dynamics" played a role. Globally, the company said sales declined 0.3 percent at locations open at least 13 months. It warned that its muted performance so far this year could hurt first-quarter profit margins.

After years of outperforming its rivals, McDonald's (MCD) has been fighting to hold onto customers and boost sales amid intensifying competition from chains such as Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) and newer players like Five Guys Burgers and Fries. The company is looking at improving the image of its food and better matching its menu to the way people are eating.

In Southern California, for instance, it's testing a "build-your-own-burger" concept that dovetails with the growing trend of customization in the fast-food industry.

To that same end, McDonald's also in the process of rolling out new prep tables at its more than 14,000 U.S. locations.
The tables can hold more ingredients, toppings and sauces, a sign that the chain plans to give customers greater variety in the type of burgers they can order.

"A long time ago, mass appeal had to be mass appeal," Jeff Stratton, the president of McDonald's USA said in an interview with The Associated Press last month. "That's not necessarily the case anymore today."

For February, McDonald's said sales declined 2.6 percent in region encompassing the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The company cited weakness in Japan and Australia, as well as a shift in the timing of the Chinese New Year.

Europe was a relative bright spot, with sales up 0.6 percent on a strong performance in the U.K. and growth in France.

McDonald's has more than 35,000 locations in more than 100 countries.

Its stock shed 31 cents to $95.19 in morning trading.

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6 Comments

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pdickm4861

Most of their sandwichs are too expensive.

March 22 2014 at 1:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mike

Where do they buy meat from what country / Maby same places as Wall Mart Neither place is willing to Say only that its is processed in the US but will not say where its from !

March 11 2014 at 9:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Robert & Alicia

McDonalds & Food = A Contradiction in terms.

March 10 2014 at 11:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cobaltmuscle

Your sales are declining because your chemically laced food sucks!! I stopped eating this crap sometime ago. Ever since I saw a posting of a pic of Mcdonalds happy meal after 6 months. It looked the same. The meat patties shrank slightly. YUK!!
And the last meal I had there was so bad, I may never get it out of my head..
Sad to see this happen, The quality of their product is no longer.

March 10 2014 at 10:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kjmayberg

I'm not happy that they charge the same price for a breakfast sandwich without meat than the same sandwich with the meat. There should be a discount without meat.

March 10 2014 at 8:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to kjmayberg's comment
Robert & Alicia

Is it meat?? Hmmmmmm :o)

March 10 2014 at 11:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply