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Jul 25, 2017

Custom burgers, $1 drinks boost McDonald's sales; shares jump

McDonald's Big Mac

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McDonald's Corp (MCD.N) on Tuesday posted its biggest jump in global sales at established restaurants in five years, helped by stronger traffic worldwide and U.S. initiatives including drink specials and custom sandwiches.

The company has been working to reverse traffic declines at U.S. restaurants, its biggest profit generator, with new products and services like fresh beef Quarter Pounders, signature crafted sandwiches, mobile ordering and delivery.

The moves are part of a broader turnaround plan under Chief Executive Steve Easterbrook that is in its second year.

McDonald's shares hit an all-time high and were a top gainer on the Dow Jones Industrial Average in morning trading on Tuesday, and were last up 3.9 per cent at $157.80.

The fast-food company also has focused on value for U.S. customers by selling soft drinks of all sizes for $1 and McCafe beverages, which include frappes, smoothies and espresso drinks, for $2.

The new products and drink specials helped increase traffic and spending, with the sandwich launch persuading some lapsed customers to return and also bringing in new diners, said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail.



Global same-restaurant sales climbed 6.6 per cent in the second quarter, helped by the strongest traffic in its restaurants in more than five years, beating the 4 per cent growth estimated by analysts, the company said.

Sales at U.S. restaurants open at least 13 months rose 3.9 per cent in the second quarter, topping the 3.2 per cent increase expected by analysts, according to research firm Consensus Metrix.

Strong sales in China lifted comparable sales gains in McDonald's high-growth segment to 7 per cent, almost double the 3.6 per cent increase expected by analysts.

That came in contrast to sluggish results from Yum China Holdings Inc <YUMC.N>, the China operator of KFC and Pizza Hut that was spun off from Yum Brands Inc <YUM.N>.

Net income rose to $1.40 billion, or $1.70 per share, from $1.09 billion, or $1.25 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, McDonald's earned a profit of $1.73 per share, beating the average analyst estimate of $1.62, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue fell 3.4 per cent to $6.05 billion, but topped analysts' average estimate of $5.96 billion.