McDonald’s Corp reported weaker-than-expected quarterly revenue as fewer customers ate at its restaurants, partly due to severe winter weather in the United States.
The fast-food chain also reported a 0.1 per cent decline in global sales at established restaurants in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31.
The world’s biggest restaurant chain by revenue has posted five straight quarters of disappointing sales.
McDonald’s signaled in October that weakness in its same-restaurant sales would continue in the fourth quarter amid stiff competition and a lackluster economic recovery.
“As we begin 2014, global comparable sales for the month of January are expected to be relatively flat,” Chief Executive Don Thompson said in a statement on Thursday.
Efforts by Thompson in the roughly 18 months since he took the top job – such as tweaking menus and changing management – have not borne fruit, raising concern that McDonald’s woes are due to internal rather than external factors.
The company known for its crispy french fries and Big Mac hamburgers reported net income of $1.40-billion, or $1.40 per share, compared with $1.40-billion, or $1.38 per share, a year earlier.
Total revenue grew 2 per cent to $7.09-billion.
Analysts on average were expecting the company to earn $1.39 per share on revenue of $7.11-billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Global sales at restaurants open for at least 13 months fell 0.1 per cent in the quarter, due to “negative comparable guest counts.” Analysts expected a rise of 0.5 per cent, according to privately held industry estimates provider Consensus Metrix.
Same-restaurant sales in the United States fell 1.4 per cent, while those in Europe rose 1 per cent. In Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (APMEA) it fell 2.4 per cent.
Analysts polled by Consensus Metrix had expected a 0.2 per cent decline in the United States, a 1.1 per cent rise in Europe and a 1.3 per cent fall in comparable sales from APMEA.
McDonald’s shares were trading down 0.5 per cent at $94.40 in premarket trading on Thursday. They closed at $94.88 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday.