first-quarter earnings and sales rose, but same-restaurant results eased and it set an $800 million reduction in capital spending.
The fast-food chain, which reported its first-ever quarterly loss in the previous quarter, earned $327.4 million, or 26 cents a share, in the latest period, up from $253.1 million, or 20 cents a share, last year. The latest quarter included an accounting charge; before that, it earned 29 cents a share, matching the consensus estimate.
Company revenue was $4.0 billion, up 6% from $3.6 billion a year ago, while systemwide revenue, which includes the additional results of restaurants owned by franchisees and joint-venture partners, rose 5% to $10.2 billion.
Reflecting stiffer competition, bad weather and war, the company said comparable-restaurant sales at U.S. McDonald's fell 2%, and fell 3.6% on a worldwide basis in constant currencies. Reflecting its efforts to cut costs and focus on existing restaurants instead of building new ones, the company said 2003 capital spending will be cut $800 million, or about 40%, from 2002 levels.
"Over the next 12 to 18 months, we will build a rock-solid foundation that can deliver reliable top-line and bottom-line growth, while moderating our capital spending -- thus improving returns on investment," the company said in a statement. The company outlined a plan to drive sales at existing restaurants, namely "disciplined action focused on five drivers of superior customer experiences -- people, products, place, price and promotion."
The shares were recently trading up 34 cents, or 2%, at $16.15 on the