May Day at McDonald's?

Are things slow going at fast food giant McDonald's (NYSE: MCD  ) ? Today, the company announced a same-store sales increase of a mere 1.8% in May, and it seems that that might have made investors wish for better times.

Today, McDonald's said that while the overall same-store sales increase wasn't quite as spectacular as were some of the past performances of late, domestic same-store sales increased by 4.2%. International sales faced a slowdown, with particular problem areas being the United Kingdom and Germany.

The company's press release pointed to domestic success of its expanded menu choices, including the new, much-advertised Fruit & Walnut Salad for healthier-minded Mickey D's fans on the run. The salad contains apples and walnuts, and although one could easily whip up similar fare at home, one may not always want to, or be able to, spare the time. In addition to customer laziness and/or harried lifestyles, recent news headlines about the supreme antioxidant properties of apples, not to mention the purported health properties of walnuts, might have also really helped out the chain.

Despite May's numbers sounding just a bit lackluster, we all know that McDonald's has had a couple of years when it has really pulled out all the stops -- and reported pretty hefty same-store sales gains during that time, always an important distinction when examining same-store sales for any retailer. In May of last year, its same-store sales increased 7.4%. McDonald's is a leader in the space -- Wendy's (NYSE: WEN  ) certainly has had a tough time of it lately, while CKERestaurants (NYSE: CKR  ) , the company behind Hardee's, recently pulled what some might call a desperate move in advertising.

McDonald's turnaround is well known, but even so, taking same-store sales figures with a grain of salt and a historical perspective, the company continues its initiatives and the stock trades at what sounds like a rather reasonable forward P/E of 14. That compares quite favorably with rivals Wendy's and Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM  ) , and on par with CKE Restaurants.

Maybe it's time for some people to contemplate an investment in this big name in quick serve, taking advantage of some degree of lost enthusiasm for the stock -- even while tough comparisons should be a factor in the coming year. Given the company's recent history and the idea that it can hopefully right what's gone wrong in certain parts of Europe, it seems there could be more good times under the golden arches.

Do you think McDonald's is a good investment? Talk it over with other Fools on our McDonald's discussion board.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.


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