McDonald’s Corporation shares opened to a record high Monday after the world’s largest restaurant chain reported positive news on the revenue and sales fronts. The Oak Brook, Illinois-based company has been fighting to maintain market share since President and CEO Steve Easterbrook took the helm of the Golden Arches last spring.
The company credited unseasonably warm fall and early winter weather and the kickoff of its breakfast-all-day menu in October for an uptick in same-store sales, a key retail performance metric that excludes stores that were opened since the same quarter the previous year.
“We took bold, urgent action in 2015 to reset the business and position McDonald's to deliver sustained profitable growth,” Easterbrook said in a statement with the fourth-quarter and full-year earnings report released before markets opened on Monday.
The company’s fourth-quarter unadjusted net income rose to $1.21 billion, or $1.31 per share, from $1.1 billion, or $1.13 per share, in the same quarter of 2014. Revenue increased to $6.34 billion from $6.57 billion. The company shattered forecasts from analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, which expected revenue to decline. Global same-store sales increased 5 percent, well above a FactSet consensus estimate of 3.2 percent.
For the year, revenue dropped to $25.41 billion, from $27.44 billion in the prior period. Net income declined to $7.15 billion from $7.95 billion
McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD) stock jumped about 2 percent, touching an all-time high of $121.90 right after the opening bell. McDonald’s stock is up more than 35 percent for the past 12 months. Since the start of the year, McDonald’s shares have risen about 2.5 percent, well above the S&P 500’s loss of about 7 percent since the start of the year.
Some franchise operators have expressed concern about the company’s aggressive pricing plan. In an attempt to lure customers and maintain market share, McDonald's has been offering lower prices with its so-called McPick 2 special, serving up $1 chicken sandwiches and McDouble hamburgers.
“I am very alarmed about the discounting push that is underway in every local co-op,” one McDonald’s franchise operator told a Nomura Securities pollster on condition of anonymity. “I have never seen the corporation be so aggressive with discounts. The regional marketing teams are adding numerous other discounts to the McPick 2, primarily breakfast items. They are encouraging, quite literally, everything being on sale.”
Nomura last week raised its U.S. McDonald’s stores sales forecast for the current quarter and reiterated its “Buy” recommendation.