|McDonald's January Same-Store Sales Show Further Slippage|
Wednesday February 12, 7:28 pm ET
By Richard Gibson
DES MOINES, Iowa -- McDonald's Corp.'s hamburger business worsened in January from a year earlier, figures released by the fast-food giant late Wednesday showed.
In reporting monthly same-store sales results for the first time, the company said those for what it calls "Brand McDonald's," its primary business, fell 2.4% . For the fourth quarter of last year comparable sales were down 1.9%, and for all of 2002 they were off 2.1%, as measured in constant currencies.
Comparable sales represent the change in sales from the same period a year earlier for restaurants operating at least 13 months. The figure is regarded by the industry as a key measurement of a chain's performance.
McDonald's also said that systemwide sales -- those at all of its restaurants world-wide -- rose 5% to $3.3 billion last month. The company's news release didn't indicate how many new restaurants accounted for the increase.
Slippage in January's same-store sales occurred in most of McDonald's world. Only Latin America showed an increase, although total sales from that market were off 27%, apparently reflecting the closure of underperforming units and the company's exit from several countries.
U.S. comparable sales were off 0.5% in January, while those in Europe dropped 3.8%. The Asia/Pacific/Mideast/Africa market saw a 7.2% decline while Canada incurred a 2.7.% drop.
There was no commentary on the results.
But Chairman and Chief Executive James Cantalupo said in the release that McDonald's would "continue to discuss the factors behind these trends quarterly in conjunction with the release of our earnings."
January systemwide sales by major market were: U.S., $1.55 billion, Europe $ 889.8 million, Asia/Pacific/Mideast/Africa $580.5 million, Latin America $102.8 million and Canada $108.8 million. Brand McDonald's systemwide sales totaled $ 3.2 billion, up from $3.1 billion.
Sales at McDonald's "Partner Brands," which include Chipotle Mexican Grill, Boston Market, Donatos Pizza and a stake in Pret A Manger, totaled $80 million last month, compared with $76.1 million a year earlier.
The company also reported several figures from its year-end balance sheet. It said total assets were $24 billion (compared with $22.5 billion at the end of 2001), debt totaled $10 billion (compared with $8.9 billion a year earlier) and shareholders' equity was $10.3 billion (compared with $9.5 billion in 2001.)
Its operations last year generated $2.9 billion in cash, which went to build and reinvest in restaurants, pay $297 million in dividends and repurchase $687 million of its stock. Capital spending totaled $2 billion, McDonald's said.
-Richard Gibson; Dow Jones Newswires