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McDonald's Tops Earnings Forecast as U.S. Same-Store Sales Surge

McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski said the first quarter beat came even as some markets continue to impose business restrictions amid the extended coronavirus pandemic.

McDonald's Corp.  (MCD) - Get McDonald's Corporation Report posted stronger-than-expected first quarter earnings Thursday, highlighted by a surge in U.S. sales, as customers returned to the world's biggest restaurant chain in the waning months of the coronavirus pandemic.

McDonalds said diluted earnings for the three months ending in March were pegged at $1.92 per share, up 30.6% from the same period last year and 11 cents ahead of the Street consensus forecast. Group revenues, McDonalds said, rose 8.7% to $5.12 billion, again ahead of analysts' estimates of a $5.03 billion tally.

McDonalds said same-store sales jumped 7.5% for the period on a global basis, while U.S. sales surged by a much-better-than-expected 13.6%.  

"Our first quarter 2021 global comparable sales and revenues surpassed first quarter 2019 levels, even as resurgences and operating restrictions persist in many parts of the world," said CEO Chris Kempczinski. "I continue to be inspired by the resilience of our crew members, franchisees, suppliers, and company employees as we lead with our values and stay true to our purpose of feeding and fostering communities." 

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"Our teams around the world are focused on executing our Accelerating the Arches strategy at the highest level - we're maximizing our marketing in a culturally relevant way, committed to the great tasting customer favorites on our core menu and doubling-down on digital, delivery and drive thru to create a faster and easier customer experience," he added.  

McDonald's shares were marked 0.6% higher in early trading immediately following the earnings release to change hands at $233.85 each.