The investors who seemed to lose faith in McDonald's (NYSE: MCD ) last quarter may now regret their decision to ditch the stock. McDonald's July same-store sales sizzled in the heat, driving the stock to a new 52-week high.
McDonald's global comps rose an amazing 7% last month. The fast-food giant wrested strength from all its geographic locations, with U.S. comps increasing 5.7%, European comps up 5.3%, and the Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa segment surging 10.1%.
In the U.S., McDonald's big story was summery beverages. Offerings such as McCafe Real Fruit Smoothies and Frappes, as well as value drinks, were helpful contributors to Mickey D's excellent monthly sales showing.
The drink angle is interesting. McDonald's aggressively competes with companies such as Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX ) and Panera (Nasdaq: PNRA ) to attract customers thirsty for chilly refreshment. Panera's most recent earnings conference call cited its own "chill" business, which consists of frozen drinks and smoothies made with Stonyfield Farm organic yogurt. Jamba Juice (Nasdaq: JMBA ) is yet another contender.
Whatever McDonald's is doing, it's doing it right, despite all the heated new competition it's getting. Furthermore, it's doing just fine against the usual rivalry from other fast-food giants such as Burger King (NYSE: BKC ) and Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM ) , which are rapidly cutting prices to drive traffic.
Given McDonald's compounding success for years now, Fools should think twice before betting against it. This high-quality blue-chip stock manages to innovate successfully and draw crowds, despite its venerable age. McDonald's still gives investors more reason to keep on lovin' it for the long term. Those are just some of the reasons that my Foolish colleague Jim Royal thinks Mickey D's is the dividend play for a lifetime.