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McDonald's Pulls 2020 Profit Outlook Amid Coronavirus Outbreak, Posts Steep March Slide in Same-Store Sales

McDonald's said March same-store sales were down 3.4% from last year, but said the slump is "not indicative of the near term" for the world's biggest restaurant group.

McDonald's Corp.  (MCD) - Get McDonald's Corporation Report will suspend its share buyback program, scrap its 2020 profit outlook and raise $6.5 billion in the bond markets to boost its cash position as the global coronavirus pandemic hammers sales and traffic at the world's biggest restaurant chain.

McDonald's also said new CEO Chris Kepmczinski has offered to take a 50% pay cut between April 15 and September 20, while other executives will voluntarily reduce their base salaries by 25%. The group also pulled its 2020 earnings forecast, as well as its longer-term outlook, after noting that same-store sales for the month of March fell 3.4% from the same period last year, well ahead of the 0.9% decline analysts had expected. 

"While the disruption means our business is faced with immediate challenges, we believe our agility has positioned us well to adapt and continue to serve customers where it is safe to do so," the company said. "Approximately 75% of our restaurants around the world are operational, the majority of which have adapted to focus on Drive-thru, Delivery, and/or Take-away." 

"We are proud of McDonald's important role in continuing to offer affordable, convenient food for those who need to continue working during this time, such as healthcare workers and other essential workers," Kepmczinksi added. "I am immensely grateful to our employees who are safely serving that need in their local communities."

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McDonald's shares were marked 0.34% higher in early Wednesday trading to change hands at $176.50 each, a move that would trim the stock's two-month decline to around 17%.