Tasty July for McDonald's

McDonald's (NYSE: MCD  ) reported comp sales for the month of July, and overall the numbers are a positive indication for the company.

Global same-store sales increased 6.4%, with the United States coming in with an increase of 7.8%. Europe was weak, yielding only a 2.1% gain; CEO Charlie Bell intimated in the release that this geographical segment needs work.

This is an improvement over June in terms of same-store sales, when the Arches saw global sales increase only 5.6%. U.S. comps were up 6.6%, while Europe lagged again at 3.6%.

I like the general picture these results paint. If I were a long-term investor with a stake in McDonald's, I'd be pleased. It's a strong brand that will certainly stand the test of time. Sales increases may have been a bit more robust in the recent past, as Alyce Lomax noted, but current revenue levels are quite satisfactory. (For an excellent analysis by Fool contributor Cass Bielski, I urge you to read McDonald's: Bland No More.)

Here's what concerns me in the short term, and granted, this is probably debatable: Will the cost of energy have an impact on the number of times a consumer heads to the local McDonald's? Gas prices can affect all sectors of retail, whether it be a Target (NYSE: TGT  ) or a Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) or a Wendy's (NYSE: WEN  ) . Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM  ) even got inventive by using rising fuel costs as a marketing tool.

However, I believe there is an ace up the sleeve of this sector in terms of keeping sales steady and growing, something I mentioned last week while discussing Wendy's comps: the acceptance of credit cards by these eateries. McDonald's will definitely benefit from this paradigm shift, as Selena Maranjian articulated in her explanation of the relationship between expanded credit card acceptance and increased sales.

Fool contributorSteven Mallas owns none of the companies mentioned.


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