McDonald's reports falling global sales, with performance partly buoyed by UK

McDonald's: falling global sales, with performance partly buoyed by UK
McDonald's: falling global sales, with performance partly buoyed by UK

McDonald's experienced a 7% decline in global sales in 2014, with profits plummeting 15% - but a European fourth-quarter sales decline was helped by "positive comparable sales and operating income" in the UK.

The fast food giant, which is being hit hard by healthier consumer eating habits and growing demand for alternatives to burgers, was reporting its fouth quarter and full-year results ending 31 December.

Across Europe, fourth quarter comparable sales declined 1.1% and operating income decreased 14%.

The group reported that its full-year profit was down 15% to $4.7bn and global sales fell 7% to $6.5bn. The results fell short of analyst predictions, which forecast sales of $6.7bn.

McDonald's said that "consumer confidence issues" in Russia and Ukraine and "weakness in France and Germany" contributed to its ailing performance, although the UK performed positively. US sales fell 1.7% in the fourth quarter.

Don Thompson, McDonald’s president and chief executive, said that the restaurant group continued to face "meaningful headwinds".

He added: "As we begin 2015, we are taking decisive action to regain momentum in sales, guest counts and market share. This involves driving foundational improvements in our major markets and continuing our recovery efforts in markets affected by unusual events.

"Over the next 12 months, our charge is to ensure that we are adapting to the changing marketplace and maximising the potential of our global growth priorities to serve our customers' favourite food and drink, create memorable experiences, offer unparalleled convenience and become an even more trusted brand."

Looking ahead, he said that while January sales are expected to be negative and "results are expected to remain pressured, particularly in the first half of the year", the longer term should see McDonald’s regain its momentum and "build value for shareholders".

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