A severe decrease in same-store sales in its Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa division drove a 1.9-percent decline in global same-store sales for McDonald’s Corp. in January.
Same-store sales plummeted 9.5 percent in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa, or APMEA, segment last month, McDonald’s reported, resulting in large part from continued weakness in Japan and new challenges in China.
Like its largest competitor in China, Yum! Brands Inc. , McDonald’s has experienced a falloff in customer demand stemming from a national controversy tied to a poultry producer who supplied some quick-service chains. The company also said that a calendar shift affecting Chinese New Year also influenced the sales decline.
Elsewhere in January, same-store sales increased 0.9 percent in the United States and decreased 2.1 percent in Europe.
“While January’s results reflect today’s challenging environment and difficult prior-year comparisons, I am confident that our unwavering commitment to delivering an exceptional restaurant experience will enhance our brand’s relevance and drive long-term results,” chief executive Don Thompson said in a statement.
The U.S. system’s result came after lapping a 7.8-percent increase in January 2011, a month in which unseasonably warm weather benefited the sales of many restaurant chains. McDonald’s credited its balanced menu approach among value, core and premium items for driving sales, but also called out the addition of the Grilled Onion Cheddar burger to the Dollar Menu  as a key contributor.
The chain also rolled out Fish McBites last month as a new item, which also will be available in Happy Meals.
Europe’s sales softness compared with a 4-percent same-store sales increase a year earlier. The company said lagging performances in Germany, France and other countries offset the positive results in the United Kingdom and Russia.
Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald’s operates or franchises more than 34,000 restaurants in 119 countries, including more than 14,000 in the United States.
Contact Mark Brandau at [email protected] .
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