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McDonald's Still Pushing All the Right Buttons

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Shares of McDonald's (MCD - Get Report) got a boost of almost a 2% on Monday after the hamburger giant reported May sales rose 2.6% worldwide for restaurants that have been opened at least one year, including a 2.4% gain in U.S. sales.

The company said new items such as egg white sandwiches, chicken wraps and various Dollar-Menu offerings helped results. These are certainly encouraging numbers from a sector that includes Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) and Yum! Brands (YUM), which have posted pretty uninspiring results, to put it mildly.

While McDonald's golden arches have been the gold standard, the soft patch in restaurants stocks played no favorites. While other stocks were getting chewed by analysts, McDonald's got burned. But McDonald's has been through much worse, and the company's ability to innovate and deliver solid profits doesn't change the long-term story of value for which this brand is known.

Monday's news was just one example. But looking at the company's relative performance, I think the Street exaggerated how bad thing were. With revenue rising just 1% year over year, I can see why it would be easy to get discouraged. But investors need to keep things in perspective. With McDonald's being one of the largest franchisors in the business, revenue growth is not always an accurate indicator of how well this company is really doing.


To that end, franchised stores posted a 2% year-over-year increase in revenue, while sales from company-owned stores were flat. Again, this is only one part of the story. Meanwhile, comps, which is another way to say same-store sales, leads every chapter. Comps is the metric that tracks the sales performance of restaurants that have been opened at least one year.

Relative to Chipotle, which posted 1% growth in comps and is not nearly as large, the fact that McDonald's comps were down 1% wasn't as alarming as some made it out to be. Worldwide sales have not been up to the company's usual standards. But the company made this up by a 2% year-over-year increase in Europe and the APMEA (Asia Pacific/Middle East/Africa).

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