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McDonald's earnings miss estimates as Europe lockdowns squash sales

  • Several European countries announced tough restrictions as the health crisis spiraled out of control late last year.
  • McDonald's said the restrictions were impacting markets abroad, particularly those with fewer drive-thru locations.
28 Jan 2021

McDonald's Corp missed Wall Street estimates for quarterly profit and revenue on Thursday as a second round of lockdowns in parts of Europe hurt its business and countered the hamburger chain's sales growth in the US market.

Several European countries announced tough restrictions as the health crisis spiraled out of control late last year, adding to the woes of the restaurant industry, which was already reeling from the impact of the pandemic for much of the year.

McDonald's said the restrictions were impacting markets abroad, particularly those with fewer drive-thru locations, and that it was expecting some of them to remain as long as the pandemic's vice-like grip on the world continued.

Fourth-quarter comparable sales for the restaurant chain's international operated markets segment fell 7.4% in the fourth quarter, largely due to weakness in France, Germany, Italy and Spain, where the health crisis has been more intense.

Analysts had forecast a drop of 5.03% for the segment, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Comparable sales in the United States, however, rose 5.5%, an improvement over the prior quarter and better than the estimate of 5.15% rise, as the company leaned on its drive-thrus and celebrity collaboration, including the launch of the crowd-favorite Travis Scott Meal, to drive its business.

Overall, global comparable sales fell 1.3% for the quarter ended Dec. 31, better than the anticipated 1.46% decline.

Total revenue fell 2.1% to $5.31 billion, missing the estimate of $5.37 billion.

Net income fell 12.4% to $1.38 billion, largely due to

Excluding one-time items, the company earned $1.70 per share, missing the average analyst estimate by 8 cents.

Shares of the world's largest fast-food chain fell about 1% in trading before the opening bell.