McDonald's sales drop for first time since 2003

Associated Press Modified: November 8, 2012 at 5:45 pm •  Published: November 8, 2012
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In October, McDonald's said that marketing for its Dollar Menu in the U.S. was offset by "modest consumer demand" and heightened competition. Moving forward, the company said it would continue its everyday value marketing.

Andy Barish, a Jefferies analyst, noted that the disappointing results were despite a Monopoly promotion and the launch of its Cheddar Bacon Onion sandwiches. Barish also said McDonald's could face a tough fourth quarter given the challenging economic climate — even with the periodic appearance of its popular McRib sandwich scheduled for later this month.

In Europe, where McDonald's gets 40 percent of its business, McDonald's said it would offer new meal combinations at various price ranges amid ongoing economic uncertainty, and continue remodeling restaurants. The company said positive results in the United Kingdom were offset by declines across many other regions.

In Asia, the company said it plans to differentiate itself with menu offerings tailored to local tastes.

The company noted that the results were hurt by a calendar shift, with this year's October having one less Saturday and Sunday and one more Tuesday and Wednesday. Restaurants typically rake in more sales on weekends.

McDonald's shares fell $1.73, or 2 percent, to close at $85.13 Thursday. The company, which has more than 34,000 locations worldwide, had warned last month that sales were trending negative for the month.