Big Mac daddy McDonald's
Earnings dipped 5% to $470.9 million, or $0.37 a share. In the prior quarter, McDonald's earned $497.5 million, or $0.37 a share. As the company predicted earlier in the month, restructuring costs ate into earnings. It's part of the fast-food giant's moves to slow new-store build-out.
Revenues rose 11% to $4.28 billion, and systemwide sales (which include sales from franchises) jumped 10% to $11.47 billion. Accounting for the weak dollar drops sales growth to 5% and 4% for company and systemwide sales, respectively.
McDonald's made real progress in the U.S. during the quarter. Comparable sales increased 4.9%, the highest growth rate in five years, according to the company. Premium salads and McGriddle breakfast sandwiches are pulling 'em in here. McDonald's is also developing healthier alternatives that it hopes will drive sales.
From here, McDonald's needs to find a way to maintain its U.S. momentum, while also generating the same buzz overseas, to offset currency effects that will eventually turn against the company. To quote fellow Fool Bill Mann, "McDonald's bread is really buttered internationally these days, so the currency gains are important and should be noted."
McDonald's stock has run up from around $12 back in March to its current $22 level, signifying that investors believe the company's turnaround is for real and solidly under way. Chairman and CEO Jim Cantalupo won't concede success yet, though, with an eye towards 2005 as the date the company should be fully on track.