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McDonald's February Comps Down 1.5%

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Fast food giant McDonald's Corp. (MCD: Quote) on Friday reported a 1.5 percent decline in global comparable sales for the month of February compared to last year, when results benefited from an extra day due to leap year. Excluding this negative calendar shift of 3.2 percentage points, comparable sales for February increased 1.7 percent.

This is the company's second straight monthly decline in comparable sales, following the 1.9 percent decrease in January. Global comparable sales is a metric used to gauge performance of the company's restaurants, whether operated by the company or by franchisees, in operation at least thirteen months including those temporarily closed.

Don Thompson, McDonald's President and Chief Executive Officer said, "While February's results reflect difficult prior year comparisons, we remain confident in the fundamental strength of McDonald's business. We have the operating experience to manage through the current challenging environment and the right strategies in place to grow the business for the long term."

The Oak Brook, Illinois-based hamburger chain's February global comparable sales decline of 1.5 percent reflected a negative calendar shift, as February 2012 included an extra day due to leap year. This compares to a 7.5 percent increase in comparable store sales in the year-ago period.

McDonald's said system-wide sales declined 0.9 percent on a reported basis for its restaurants worldwide. However, system-wide sales increased 1.1 percent in constant currencies.

Geographically, February comparable sales in the U.S. declined 3.3 percent, reflecting the negative calendar shift due to leap year. This compared to an increase of 11.1 percent in the prior-year period. U.S. system-wide sales declined 2.3 percent for the month.

Excluding the calendar shift, U.S. sales for the month were flat with last year. Sales in the region were aided by the recent addition of the Grilled Onion Cheddar burger and the Hot 'n Spicy McChicken to McDonald's value line-up, in addition to the popularity of classic core favorites including Filet-O-Fish, and the limited-time Fish McBites offer.

In Europe, comparable sales declined 0.5 percent, compared to a 4.0 percent increase last year. Excluding the segment's calendar shift, Europe sales rose 2.7 percent, reflecting strong performance in the UK and Russia.

Meanwhile, Europe's system-wide sales for the month grew 2.6 percent from last year on a reported basis, and increased 2.2 percent in constant currencies.

Comparable sales in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa or APMEA region declined 1.6 percent, reflecting the negative calendar shift due to leap year. This compared to prior year's growth of 2.4 percent.

Excluding the segment's calendar shift, comparable sales for APMEA rose 1.5 percent, as the ongoing weakness in Japan was more than offset by positive results in China and Australia. The segment's results also benefited from the shift in timing of the Chinese New Year.

System-wide sales for the APMEA region declined 2.9 percent on a reported basis, but rose 3.3 percent in constant currencies.

MCD closed Thursday's regular trading session at $97.09. In Friday's pre-market, the stock is adding $1.91 or 1.97 percent to $99.00.

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by RTT Staff Writer

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