McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) is one of the poster children for what you might call the "trade-down nation" trend, and its shareholders aren't complaining. Once again, Mickey D's delivered amazing monthly comps as consumers gravitate toward low, low prices.
In November, McDonald's same-store sales increased by 7.7% globally. Its strongest showing was in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East, and Africa segment, where comps surged by 13.2%. European comps increased 7.8%. Here in the U.S., comps rose 4.5%, which is still pretty darn impressive given the current economic headwinds.
After all, Black Friday missed the black this year. Even mighty Costco (NASDAQ:COST) saw comps drop 5%. Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) was one of the bright spots, of course, as it is also part of that "trade-down nation" idea, as nervous consumers try to wrangle the best deals they can in these recessionary times.
I can't get too excited about many restaurant stocks. Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ:BWLD) and Panera (NASDAQ:PNRA) are two that I still think could falter in the current economy. And while I've long thought Chipotle (NYSE:CMG) (NYSE:CMG-B) is a great stock idea for the long term, the near term may present difficulties for it.
McDonald's is a real winner for investors, though. While a stock that trades at 16 times earnings may sound a little high given all the single-digit price-to-earnings ratios out there in the retail world (plus, McDonald's is a pretty mature company in many ways), I'd say that premium's worth it, since the company continues to prove that it can produce growth despite its size. It's a leader in its industry, it has proved that it can excel in good times and bad, and it pays a dividend to boot. McDonald's continues to be a safe and stable stock for investors' portfolios.
Pick up some related Foolishness:
Panera Bread is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems Pay Dirt pick. Chipotle Mexican Grill is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Chipotle Mexican Grill and Buffalo Wild Wings are Motley Fool Hidden Gems selections. Wal-Mart Stores is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Costco Wholesale is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. The Fool owns shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill and Buffalo Wild Wings. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Fool has a disclosure policy.