OAK BROOK — McDonald’s says a key global sales figure fell 2.2 percent in November as U.S. sales continue to decline and it contends with ongoing difficulties from a food-safety scandal in China.
The world’s largest hamburger chain said Monday that the drop in global sales at locations open at least 13 months included a 4.6 percent decline in the U.S. and a 4 percent decline for the unit that includes the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East and Africa.
McDonald’s Asian business has been trying to bounce back since the summer, when a TV report in China showed workers at one of its suppliers repackaging meat that was alleged to be expired. The claim has not been publicly confirmed by the supplier or the government.
McDonald’s Corp. said its U.S. business was hampered by strong competition. McDonald’s previously said that it is working on simplifying its menu so that its restaurants have room to offer options best-suited for their regions. This process is expected to start in January.
One of McDonald’s biggest challenges in the U.S. is long-held perceptions around the freshness and quality of its ingredients. The chain has been fighting to boost sales as people gravitate toward foods they feel are more wholesome. As a result, people have been heading to places like Chipotle, which markets its ingredients as being of superior quality.
The Oak Brook, Illinois, company said comparable sales for Europe fell 2 percent with a strong performance in the U.K. more than offset by weakness in Russia, France and Germany.
McDonald’s has more than 35,000 locations in more than 100 countries. Its stock fell $2.81, or 2.9 percent, to $93.50 before the market opened Monday.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS