McDonald's global comparable sales improve in January

McDonald's has reported that its global comparable sales increased 2.6 per cent in January.

In the US, it decreased 0.7 per cent, in Europe it increased by 4.3 per cent and in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa it was up by 4.3 per cent.

The company said that comparable sales in the US were down in January, but the chain still outpaced the overall quick-service restaurant industry. McDonald's US came up with new additions during the period namely breakfast dollar menu, the portable Mac Snack Wrap and free Wi-Fi.

In Europe, comparable sales rose 4.3 per cent for the month fueled by France, the UK and many other markets, partly offset by Germany. The company said that throughout Europe, affordable menu choices, seasonal and fourth tier menu options and a contemporary restaurant environment contributed to the rise.

January comparable sales in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa (APMEA) were up 4.3 per cent led by performance in Japan and Australia, partly offset by a difficult comparison in China and other markets due to the timing of Chinese New Year.

Systemwide sales rose 9.1 per cent, or 4.3 per cent in constant currencies, for the month.

Jim Skinner, chief executive officer of McDonald's, said: "McDonald's continues to deliver great tasting, high quality food at an outstanding value to the growing number of customers we serve around the world every day. As we raise the bar on our menu, convenience and value offerings, I am confident that we will exceed our customers' expectations again in 2010."

Recently, McDonald's Japan (a 50 per cent-owned affiliate) announced plans to close approximately 430 restaurants over the next 12-18 months in conjunction with the strategic review of the market's real estate portfolio. These actions are designed to enhance the customer experience, overall profitability and returns of the market.

As a result of these closures, McDonald's expects to record after tax impairment charges totaling approximately $40m to $50m, primarily in the first half of the year.