November same-store sales at McDonald’s were the best of the year for both its global system and its restaurants in the United States, the company said Thursday, driven by menu items like the McRib and McNuggets and beverages from McCafé.
Global same-store sales rose 7.4 percent, reflecting gains of 6.5 percent in the United States, 6.5 percent in Europe and 8.1 percent in the Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa, or APMEA, region.
“We’re listening to our customers and delivering what they expect from McDonald’s by optimizing our menu, modernizing the customer experience and broadening accessibility to our brand,” McDonald’s Corp. chief executive Jim Skinner said. “McDonald’s steadfast focus on our customers and our operations under the Plan to Win is driving the sustained momentum of our global business.”
In the United States, McDonald’s November results faced a difficult comparison to a 4.8-percent same-store sales increase in November 2010, which benefited from the chain’s first-ever nationwide offering of the popular McRib. The company executed a McRib offering at its more than 14,000 domestic restaurants again this year and promoted it with a social-media scavenger hunt, “The Quest for the Golden McRib.”
McDonald’s also introduced the first seasonal beverages in its popular McCafé lineup in November, the Peppermint Mocha and Peppermint Hot Chocolate. The company credited those drinks, as well as continued marketing of breakfast, value menus and a Chicken McNuggets promotion with driving the same-store sales increase.
Securities analysts Sara Senatore of Bernstein Research and Andy Barish of Jefferies & Company both wrote in research notes that the company’s same-store sales results across the board beat expectations. Senatore and Barish had projected an increase in the United States of 4.3 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively.
Both analysts noted that McDonald’s took a small price increase in the United States in November — Senatore wrote that the figure was 0.75 percent, and Barish estimated the increase to be between 0.5 percent and 1 percent — and that a calendar shift in November of one fewer Monday and one extra Wednesday positively affected results between 0.1 percent and 0.4 percent.
Once again, strong results in the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Russia led the way in the European division’s same-store sales increase, McDonald’s said. Across that segment, McDonald’s continued to reimage restaurants, introduce limited-time offers and balance menus among value, mid-tier and premium items.
The brand added that local menus accounted for much of the success in APMEA last month. Increases in Japan and China contributed in large part to that division’s same-store sales increase. McDonald’s said at its Investor Day conference last month that the majority of the company’s 1,300 worldwide restaurant openings in 2012 would happen in APMEA.
Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald’s operates or franchises more than 33,000 restaurants in 119 countries.