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McDonald's Stock Jumps As 'Super Size' U.S. Menu Prices Powers Q3 Earnings Beat

Higher U.S. menu prices and larger order sizes helped boost U.S. same store sales, powering McDonald's to a much better-than-expected Q3 earnings beat.

McDonalds Corp.  (MCD) - Get McDonald's Corporation (MCD) Report posted stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings Wednesday as higher U.S. menu prices, as well as larger order sizes, boosted sales for the world's biggest restaurant chain.

McDonalds said diluted earnings for the three months ending in September were pegged at $2.86  per share, up 42.2% from the same period last year and 40 cents ahead of the Street consensus forecast. Group revenues, McDonalds said, rose 14.4% to $6.2 billion, again topping analysts' estimates of a $5.42 billion tally.

McDonalds said same-store sales rose 12.7% for the period on a global basis while U.S. sales jumped by a better-than-expected 9.6% thanks in part to higher menu prices and larger order sizes.  

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"Our third quarter results are a testament to our unparalleled scale and agility," said CEO Chris Kempczinski. "Our global comparable sales increased 10% over 2019, which was delivered across an omnichannel experience that is focused on meeting the needs of our customers."

"We continue to execute our strategic growth plan and run great restaurants so that we can drive long-term, sustainable growth for all of our stakeholders," he added.  

McDonalds shares on Wednesday closed 2.7% higher at $242.73, a move that would extend the stock's year-to-date gain to around 13.4%.

Late last month, McDonald's said it would resume its suspended share buyback program, pegged at around $15 billion, and boosted its quarterly dividend payment by 7% to $1.38 per share.

"Guest counts were positive in all segments, which likely reflects easy y/y comparisons as party size, delivery, and consumer adoption of digital technology continue to boost average check," said KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Eric Gonzalez. "With this morning’s results, the Company raised its 2021 outlook for systemwide sales growth from the mid-to-high teens to the high-teens, which compares to 20% through the first 9 months of the year."