McDonald's Corp. (MCD) had nothing short of a golden quarter, posting adjusted earnings and revenue that exceeded Wall Street forecasts, as well as a 5.5% increase in global comparable sales -- a six-year peak, according to CEO Steve Easterbrook.
The world's largest fast-food chain reported earnings of $1.71 per share in the quarter ending on Dec. 31, compared with analyst predictions of $1.59. The figure was adjusted for the company's foreign tax costs under the new tax code signed into law Dec. 22. It also reaffirmed a quarterly cash dividend of $1.01 per share, payable on March 15.
McDonald's had a total revenue of $5.34 billion, again beating expectations of $5.22 billion. Net income totaled $698.7 billion, while comparable sales in the U.S. rose 4.5% — a result of its value menu and positive reception to the new Buttermilk Crispy Tenders, the company said. The international segment increased 6%.
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In 2018, McDonald's plans to open 1,000 new restaurants and invest $2.4 billion in updating locations with self-ordering kiosks as part of its Experience of the Future program, according to CFO Kevin Ozan. "At the same time," he said, "we plan to continue making meaningful investments in technology to modernize the customer experience and redefine convenience."
Given the impact from the tax act and its refranchising initiative, McDonald's missed Wall Street's full-year earnings forecast of $6.52 per share, instead reporting $6.37 per share. But the full-year revenue exceeded expectations at $22.8 billion, versus the anticipated $22.7 billion, according to FactSet.
Late last year, McDonald's introduced a new dollar menu in which items are offered at $1, $2 and $3. Ahead of its earnings release on Tuesday, Jan. 30, analysts had predicted that the value menu was successful in driving sales and traffic for the quarter.
In 2017, McDonald's shares rose 42%, having made strides in its goal of becoming 95% franchised and rolling out its Experience of the Future initiative. Jefferies analysts expect comp sales to grow 5% in 2018 from the new kiosks alone.
McDonald's shares are down nearly 3% at market's close Tuesday, trading at $172.48.
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