McDonald's Sales Top Views in January Despite U.S. Slump

Despite surprisingly weak U.S. results, McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) on Monday posted a stronger-than-expected 1.2% increase in global same-store sales for January.

The world’s largest fast-food chain benefited from a 5.4% leap in sales in its Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa division, which blew away forecasts from analysts for a gain of just 1.1%.

McDonald’s pointed to strong gains in China due to a shift in the timing of the Chinese New Year and “lapping the residual effects of consumer sensitivity” tied to supply chain problems in the chicken industry the year before.

McDonald’s said sales in Europe jumped 2% in January, almost doubling the Street’s view of 1.2%, amid positive performance in the U.K. and France that offset weakness in Germany.

Sales in the U.S. tumbled 3.3%, compared with expectations for a more modest decline of 1.7%. McDonald’s cited “broad-based challenges including severe weather.” The company said it is “focused on regaining positive momentum” in the U.S.

Overall, global same-store sales grew 1.2% in January, topping forecasts for a gain of just 0.2%. The company had told investors to expect “relatively flat” sales.

"We are intent on improving our performance by building on our customer-driven strategies and the fundamental strengths of our proven business model,” McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson said in a statement.

Separately, McDonald’s announced the opening of its first restaurant in Vietnam. The location in Ho Chi Minh City also marks McDonald’s 10,000th restaurant in the Asia, Pacific Middle East and Africa region.

Shares of Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald’s slipped 0.44% to $95.50 in premarket trading Monday morning. McDonald’s shares have trailed the broader market over the past year, gaining just 1%.