Mcdonald Says 1q Sales Drop As 25% Of Stores Are Closed

Posted: Apr 30, 2020

McDonald's says it has likely reached the trough of global restaurant closures due to COVID-19, with 25% still shuttered. But business has been slow to return as lockdown orders continue to disrupt consumers' routines.

McDonald’s said Thursday its sales fell 6% to $4.71 billion in the January-March period. Declines have persisted in April.

“We’re now operating in a completely different world,” McDonald's President and CEO Chris Kempczinski said in a conference call with investors.

Worldwide, 75% of the fast food giant's 39,000 stores are open. Kempczinski said locations are gradually reopening according to local regulations.

In China, where 25% of stores were closed in February, nearly all have reopened; 99% of U.S. stores are open as well, offering limited menus and takeout food. But most stores remain closed in some key markets like France, the United Kingdom and Italy.

When stores do reopen, business is generally slow, especially at breakfast, McDonald's said. In China, for example, same-store sales — or sales at locations open at least a year — were down 20% in the first quarter. Those declines narrowed in April, but were still in the mid-teens. U.S. same-store sales were down 20% in April, slightly better than the 25% declines in the last part of March.

And even at stores that remained open through the crisis, business has changed. Before the pandemic, drive-thru made up two-thirds of McDonald's U.S. sales. Now, drive-thru accounts for 90% of sales. In Canada, delivery sales have shot up 40%. In Australia, stores are selling milk, eggs and other grocery items in addition to food.

By Dee-Ann Durbin
Associated Press 
April 30, 2020
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