NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of McDonald's Corp. (MCD) are down 1.33% to $90.14 on heavy trading volume after the company outlined plans for major changes to its food offerings, from the items it sells to how they're made, in the fast-food giant's most far-reaching steps to try to rejuvenate its troubled U.S. business, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The measures, discussed on Wednesday in an investor briefing on the company's turnaround efforts, range from culling items from a menu that has become bloated to giving more customers the option of more customized ordering, an effort known as "create your taste," the Journal said.
The menu changes are part of a move to combat a pricing gap that has grown between food items, from its dollar menu to its core items. President of McDonald's USA Mike Andres said "more core menu items have absorbed a disproportionate amount of the inflationary pressures on the business."
The company also said the chain plans to study every ingredient in its products and review different cooking and holding techniques to improve the quality of its food, the Journal added.
McDonald's U.S. has reported three straight quarters of falling traffic to its restaurants, and same-store sales have declined in each quarter of 2014.
About 9.76 million shares changed hands by 3:43 p.m. in New York, compared to the average of 5.51 million shares.
Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates MCDONALD'S CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate MCDONALD'S CORP (MCD) a BUY. This is driven by multiple strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its notable return on equity, expanding profit margins and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income."
Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:
- The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. In comparison to other companies in the Hotels, Restaurants & Leisure industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, MCDONALD'S CORP has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500.
- 44.29% is the gross profit margin for MCDONALD'S CORP which we consider to be strong. Regardless of MCD's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, MCD's net profit margin of 15.29% compares favorably to the industry average.
- Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 9.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 4.6%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
- Even though the current debt-to-equity ratio is 1.11, it is still below the industry average, suggesting that this level of debt is acceptable within the Hotels, Restaurants & Leisure industry. Regardless of the somewhat mixed results with the debt-to-equity ratio, the company's quick ratio of 1.07 is sturdy.
- MCDONALD'S CORP's earnings per share declined by 28.3% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, MCDONALD'S CORP increased its bottom line by earning $5.56 versus $5.36 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 10.7% in earnings ($4.96 versus $5.56).
- You can view the full analysis from the report here: MCD Ratings Report