McDonald’s sales growth breaches 2019 levels as pandemic curbs ease

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First-quarter global comparable sales growth of 7.5% surpassed pre-pandemic 2019 levels, Chief Executive Officer Chris Kempczinski said. Those numbers trounced expectations of a 4.71% growth, according to analysts polled by Refinitiv IBES data.

An intense vaccination drive and the distribution of relief checks are encouraging more people in the United States to eat out.

McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) also rolled out its chicken sandwiches earlier this year in the United States, looking to tap into a frenzy kicked off by privately owned Chick-fil-A and Restaurant Brands’ Popeyes in 2019.

That together helped power a 13.6% jump in sales at restaurants open for more than a year, trouncing expectations of 9.25%, according to analysts polled by Refinitiv IBES data.

McDonald’s also showed strong growth in its international markets, with the UK, Australia and Canada recording a rise in sales. Comparable sales in France and Germany, where lockdowns and restrictions were placed to curb the spread of the virus, lagged.

Net income rose to $1.54 billion, or $2.05 per share, for the first quarter ended March 31 from $1.11 billion, or $1.47 per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 9% to $5.12 billion, above estimates of $5.03 billion.

Excluding one-time items, the company earned $1.92 per share, well above the expectation of $1.81.