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Same-store sales surged 7.2 percent worldwide in the two months through February, before sliding 22 percent in the final month of the quarter, leading to a decline of 3.4 percent in the full-three month period.
"McDonald's began 2020 with exceptional global momentum, and our January and February sales were reflective of that trend,” McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski said in a statement. “Since then, the global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted our business, and we continue to operate in a very challenging and unpredictable environment.”
The Chicago-based fast-food chain reported first-quarter profit fell 16 percent to $1.1 billion, or $1.47 a share, on revenue of $4.71 billion. The results lagged estimates from analysts surveyed by Refinitiv of $1.57 per share on revenue of $4.65 billion.
In the U.S., same-store sales edged up 0.1 percent in the first quarter, pared by a 13.4 percent slide during March. International same-store sales cratered 34.7 percent in March and were down 6.9 percent for the first three months of the year.
In an effort to provide financial flexibility, McDonald's suspended its share repurchase program and raised $6.5 billion through a debt sale. The company also cut $1 billion of planned capital expenditures.
Ninety-nine percent of U.S. restaurants and 75 percent of all establishments remained opened through the pandemic, mostly serving customers by drive-through, delivery or take-away.
McDonald's withdrew its 2020 and long-term outlooks on April 8 due to uncertainty caused by COVID-19.
Shares fell 4.95 percent this year through Wednesday, outperforming the S&P 500's 9.01 percent drop.