Chief Executive Chris Kempczinski said Wednesday that global same-store sales last year were the highest in more than a decade. But guest counts to restaurants in the U.S., McDonald’s biggest market, fell 1.9% in 2019 from a year earlier.
The company has struggled to draw in customers domestically as rivals have expanded and consumers have gravitated toward eating at home. McDonald’s is investing in technology to try to boost sales through delivery and digital-ordering kiosks, along with trying to sharpen its promotions.
McDonald’s reported $5.35 billion in fourth-quarter revenue, up from $5.16 billion the year earlier and more than the $5.31 billion that analysts polled by FactSet expected. Same-store sales, those at restaurants open at least 13 months, rose 5.9% globally. International-operated same-store sales increased 6.2%, while those at U.S. locations were up 5.1%.
Shares rose to 1.9% in premarket trading.
The Chicago-based company said store upgrades, promotions and menu-price increases boosted same-store sales in the U.S.
Profit for the quarter increased to $1.57 billion, or $2.08 a share, from $1.42 billion, or $1.82 a share, the year earlier.
Earnings per share excluding one-time items, including the effect of federal tax cuts, were $1.97 per share, a penny more than what analysts expected.
Mr. Kempczinski previously served as president of McDonald’s U.S. business, where he worked on projects to draw in customers, and on investments with franchisees to remodel stores and introduce technology like ordering kiosks.
McDonald’s on Tuesday said it would sell two chicken sandwiches nationally at breakfast for a limited time, a move that comes as rivals look to bolster their own breakfast lineups. Chicken has also emerged as a point of competition among McDonald’s and rivals.
The post McDonald’s Gains Sales Globally, but U.S. Guest Counts Fall appeared first on WSJ.