Updated from 11:36 a.m. with conference call information
Mickey D's guest counts in the U.S. fell 2.1% last year, according to a new regulatory filing on Monday. In 2015, guest counts in the U.S. dropped 3.0%. Guest counts in the U.S. haven't risen since 2012, when they gained 1.9%.
"You have to be serving more customers, more often," acknowledged McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook on a conference call, adding that guest counts are the "lifeblood" of McDonald's business. To try and reignite visits this year, Easterbrook promised to "fight harder" on offering value while also continuing to invest in new technology such as touchscreen ordering machines that enhance the customer experience.
Meanwhile, McDonald's reported better-than-expected earnings, revenue and global same-store sales for the fourth quarter, but U.S. same-store sales fell 1.3% year-over-year in large part due to tepid store traffic. Wall Street was looking for a 1.4% decline. McDonald's pinned the blame on challenging comparisons against last year's successful launch of All-Day Breakfast. Further, unfavorable weather likely played a role.
The stock initially rose 2.59% to $125.43 in pre-market trading after the results, but recently pared gains and was down 1% to $120.99.
The fast-food giant said global same-store sales increased 2.7%, above the FactSet consensus for 1.3% growth.
Earnings of $1.44 per diluted share surpassed analysts' expectations of $1.41 per share. Revenue of $6.03 billion also came in above Wall Street's projections of $6.00 billion.
"Overall, a generally in-line result, but the stock may be under some modest pressure due to commentary in the release highlighting difficult U.S. same-store sales comparisons in the first quarter and deferral of 2017 guidance," Credit Suisse analysts Jason West and Jordy Winslow said in a note.
Easterbrook did manage to strike an upbeat tone on Twitter, however.