Fast-food giant McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) has rebounded nicely from a period more than three years ago when it suffered declines in global comparable sales. For 13 quarters in a row, McDonald's has reported positive global comparable sales. But some investors have worried about how sustainable this return to growth is, since the fast-food company's comps growth started decelerating during the first half of the year.
On Tuesday, however, McDonald's addressed investor worries with an acceleration in comparable-sales growth and better-than-expected revenue and earnings per share. The news sent McDonald's stock soaring on Tuesday, with shares ending the trading day up 6.3%.
As investors consider McDonald's latest quarterly results, here's an overview of some of the key figures from the report.
1. Comparable sales increased 4.2%
First, the headline figure: McDonald's global comparable sales -- sales at all restaurants in operation for at least 13 months -- increased 4.2% year over year. Notably, this was an acceleration from McDonald's 4% growth in global comparable sales in its second quarter of 2018.
This growth comprised a 2.4% increase in comparable sales in the U.S., a 5.4% increase in McDonald's international segment, and a 4.6% bump in its "high growth" international markets.
2. Revenue of $5.37 billion
A 7% year-over-year decrease in McDonald's third-quarter revenue was primarily driven by the impact of the company's strategic refranchising initiative. Still, McDonald's $5.37 billion in revenue was ahead of a consensus analyst estimate for $5.32 billion.
3. Adjusted operating income was up 2%
McDonald's operating income, excluding both the impact of sales of its businesses in China and Hong Kong in the year-ago quarter and prior-year restructuring and impairment charges, increased 2% year over year. In constant currencies, operating income was up 4% -- a stark difference from the company's 1% decrease in adjusted constant-currency operating income in Q2.
4. Systemwide sales increased 5%
McDonald's systemwide sales -- sales from both company-owned and franchise restaurants -- were up 5% year over year. This was in line with McDonald's strong second-quarter systemwide sales growth of 5%.
5. Earnings per share rose 9%
This momentum across McDonald's business, combined with the company's share repurchases, helped McDonald's earnings per share rise 9% year over year to $2.20. Adjusted earnings per share jumped 19%, beating consensus analyst estimates.
With a strong quarter behind it, McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook is confident about the company's future. "We remain confident that our strategy will drive long-term, profitable growth," he said.
The results certainly make the company's ambitious long-term targets seem more reasonable. Beginning in 2019, McDonald's is aiming for average annual systemwide sales growth between 3% and 5%, and earnings-per-share growth in the high single digits.