McDonald’s Sales Tanking Everywhere

December 8, 2014 by Paul Ausick

McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) on Monday morning announced same-store sales for November, and it is hard to figure how the news could be worse. U.S. sales were down 4.6% year-over-year for the month, European sales were down 2.0% and Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa (APMEA) sales were down 4.0%. Worldwide same-store sales were down 2.2%.

The company said it expects the lousy results to have a negative impact on fourth-quarter results. Here is how the company puts it:

  • Negative top-line performance is expected to significantly pressure company-operated and franchised margins
  • $0.07 to $0.10 per share due to the ongoing impact of the supplier issue in China, as previously communicated
  • $0.07 to $0.09 per share due to strengthening of the U.S. dollar against nearly all foreign currencies

The current consensus estimate from analysts calls for earnings per share of $1.24 in the fourth quarter, which McDonald’s now says will be shaved by $0.14 to $0.19 on top of lower-than-expected revenues.

McDonald’s thinks it has identified what consumers want: more menu choice, more convenience and more value. For the past two months the company has been working “diligently” in the United States to “enhance its marketing, simply the menu, and implement a more locally-driven organizational structure to increase relevance with consumers.” Added to October’s same-store sales drop of 1%, it appears that all that diligence is not paying off.

In Europe sales in Russia have been poor, and sales growth is negative in Germany and France. In Asia the tainted meat scandal continues to take a toll.

When McDonald’s reported third-quarter results in late October, the company warned that same-store sales would be negative in the month (they were) and that “internal factors and external headwinds have proven more formidable than expected and will continue into the fourth quarter.” That prediction has also come true. While the company appears able to identify the issues, it does not appear to have a solution.

Shares traded down about 2.7% in Monday’s premarket, at $93.69 in a 52-week range of $89.34 to $103.78.

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