"Our goal is to ensure that we are adapting to keep pace with the changing marketplace," Don Thompson continued. "We are intent on strengthening our brand by running even better restaurants and delivering the best food and beverage offerings. We will accomplish this by accentuating our key brand attributes, modernizing our connection with the more than 69 million customers who visit McDonald's each day, and optimizing our globally diversified restaurant portfolio."
Chief Financial Officer Pete Bensen said, "Although the environment of muted top-line growth and ongoing cost pressures will persist in 2014, we are confident that McDonald's is uniquely positioned to make investments today that will generate future value for our System and shareholders. We believe now is the ideal time to capture the significant opportunity in under-penetrated emerging markets while expanding our presence in key established markets where average unit volumes and brand recognition are strong. We have the financial discipline, systems and processes to ensure that we optimize the use of our capital expenditures of $2.9 - $3.0 billion for 2014."
"McDonald's business continues to generate a significant amount of cash from operations - averaging $7 billion over the last few years. Our priorities regarding the use of this cash have not changed," Bensen continued. "Our first priority is to reinvest in our business to drive future growth. After that, we expect to return all of our free cash flow over the long term to investors through a combination of dividends and share repurchases. For 2013, we expect to return $4.5 - $5 billion to shareholders."
Don Thompson concluded, "The McDonald's System has an infrastructure built for growth, and we are well-positioned to seize the sizable opportunities that exist in the Informal Eating Out industry. Today we are investing in our people, our restaurants and our technology to capitalize on those long-term opportunities that will make McDonald's even better and bigger in the future. While the near-term environment is challenging, we are confident in our ability to create long-term value for our customers, shareholders and the McDonald's System."RELATED COMMUNICATIONS The Company plans to release November 2013 sales on December 9, 2013. McDonald's is the world's leading global foodservice retailer with approximately 35,000 locations serving more than 69 million customers in over 100 countries each day. More than 80% of McDonald's restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent local men and women.