McDonald's reports profits plunge of 15% in one of chain's worst ever years

Half eaten Big Mac

McDonald’s reported one of its worst financial years on Friday, as burger lovers across the globe continue to fall out of love with the world’s largest restaurant chain.

The home of the Big Mac and Quarter Pounder said sales in 2014 dropped by 7% and annual profits plunged by 15%.

Don Thompson, the company’s president and chief executive, said 2014 was a “challenging year” in “each of our geographic segments”. He warned that McDonald’s, which serves 69 million customers at more than 36,000 outlets across the world, “continues to face meaningful headwinds”.

Full-year net income dropped 15% to $4.7bn, making 2014 one of the worst years in the company’s history. Global sales declined by 7% to $6.5bn compared to $7.1bn in 2013, below analysts’ expectations of $6.7bn

“2014 was a challenging year for McDonald’s around the world,” Thompson said. “Our results declined as unforeseen events and weak operating performance pressured results in each of our geographic segments.

“As we begin 2015, we are taking decisive action to regain momentum in sales, guest counts and market share. This involves driving foundational improvements in our major markets and continuing our recovery efforts in markets affected by unusual events.”

McDonald’s has struggled to retain customers attracted to new fast-food chains like Shake Shack, Chipotle and Five Guys. The company is also feeling the effects of a growing desire for healthier food, despite its attempts to add salads and other lighter items to its menu.

McDonald’s shares, which have fallen by 4% in the past year, rose by 0.6% to 90.89 in pre-market trading on Friday.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Rupert Neate in New York, for The Guardian on Friday 23rd January 2015 15.12 Europe/London

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