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McDonald’s ends 2021 strong, but costs rising

AP – McDonald’s ended 2021 on a high note with United States (US) customers spending more and fewer restaurant closures in Europe from coronavirus restrictions.

The Chicago burger giant said global same-store sales or sales at restaurants open at least a year rose 12.3 per cent in the quarter.

That’s better than the 10.5-per-cent increase that Wall Street was expecting, according to analysts polled by FactSet. In the US, same-store sales rose 7.5 per cent as limited-time products like the McRib drew customers despite higher menu prices. McDonald’s said in the fall that US prices would be six per cent higher in 2021 than the prior year.

Revenue rose 13 per cent to USD6.01 billion, which was just shy of Wall Street expectations, according to a survey of industry analysts by FactSet, with sales crimped by coronavirus restrictions in Australia and China.

But McDonald’s was still stung by rising prices and higher labour costs, which cut into profits. The Chicago company reported adjusted earnings of USD2.23 per share, 11 cents short of Wall Street expectations.

McDonald’s raised hourly pay for 36,000 US employees at its company-owned restaurants last year. Franchisees own 93 per cent of McDonald’s 40,000 restaurants worldwide, but several thousand stores are owned by McDonald’s.

McDonald’s shares fell two per cent before the opening bell yesterday.

A McDonald sign in Pittsburgh. PHOTO: AP
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