McDonald’s US December sales help Q4 profit

NEW YORK, Jan 23 – McDonald’s Corp reported an unexpected rise in sales in December at established US restaurants, helping to lift its fourth-quarter profit above analysts estimates.

The world’s largest restaurant chain today said sales at US eateries open at least 13 months rose 0.9 per cent in December, compared with an average estimate compiled by Consensus Metrix calling for a 1.78 per cent drop in the month.

A push by the company to have more of its restaurants open on Christmas and a shift of the limited-time offering of its popular McRib sandwich to December, both helped boost US sales during the month.

But analysts said the early part of 2013 will be tough for the chain as it runs short of quick fixes for boosting US sales that have been hurt by stiffer competition for customers who are pinching pennies in a weak economic recovery.

Net income at the world’s biggest restaurant chain rose to US$1.40 billion, or US$1.38 per share, from US$1.38 billion, or US$1.33 per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average forecast US$1.33 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Total sales rose 1.5 per cent to US$4.59 billion.

McDonald’s fourth-quarter global sales at restaurants open at least 13 months rose 0.1 per cent. Analysts on average had forecast a 0.3 per cent decline, according to Consensus Metrix. – Reuters


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