The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

AP story section

August 9, 2013

McDonald's sales edge up on better U.S. results

NEW YORK — McDonald’s says a key sales figure edged up modestly in July, as a bigger push behind its Dollar Menu and Big Mac in the U.S. helped offset declines in other parts of the world.

The world’s biggest hamburger chain says global sales rose 0.7 percent at restaurants open at least 13 months. That included a 1.6 percent increase in the U.S., where it said “everyday value offerings,” breakfast and staples such as the Big Mac drove up results.

McDonald’s stock slipped almost 1 percent to $97.68. Over the past year, the stock is up 12 percent.

The company, based in Oak Brook, Ill., is trying to juggle a variety of challenges. With people being careful about their spending, the chain has aggressively promoted its Dollar Menu and other deals to bring in customers.

To shake its fast-food image, McDonald’s is also offering options people see as healthier or fresher. Some of its newer menu items include chicken wraps and the option to substitute egg whites in breakfast sandwiches.

At the same time, the company is trying to remind people of longtime favorites and has been featuring its Big Mac in TV and online ads. It also recently expanded its lineup of Quarter Pounders, saying it wanted to capitalize on the popularity of the burger.

Still, the company had warned last month that it expected global sales to be relatively flat in July and that the rest of the year would be challenging. McDonald’s, which has more than 34,000 locations, has attributed its struggle to drive up sales to intensifying competition and weak economic conditions around the world.

For July, the global sales figure was dragged down by a 1.9 percent decline in both Europe and the region encompassing Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Results were negative in Germany, France, Japan, Australia and China.

CEO Don Thompson, who rose to the top spot last summer, has said the company is working on adjusting to local conditions, whether it’s by emphasizing deals more or extending the hours of operation.

The monthly sales figures are a snapshot of money spent on food at both company-owned and franchised restaurants and do not reflect corporate revenue.

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