INTERNATIONAL | Staff Reporter, Singapore

McDonald's global comp sales rise

The fast food brand announced the results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2016.

"Throughout 2016, we worked diligently to lay the groundwork for our long-term future. We focused on driving changes in our menu, restaurants and technology to deliver an enhanced McDonald's experience for our customers around the world," said McDonald's President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Easterbrook.

"We applied the necessary rigour and discipline to strengthen the Company and our financial performance. Our efforts yielded a more streamlined and focused organisation that generated solid fourth quarter and full year results, including our strongest annual global comparable sales growth since 2011 along with record franchisee cash flows in many of our major markets. I am confident that we're on the right path as we pursue our goal of being recognised by our customers as the modern, progressive burger company."

According to the report, global comparable sales for the fourth quarter increased 2.7%, including positive comparable sales in the International Lead, High Growth and Foundational segments. Consolidated revenues for the three-month period decreased 5% (3% in constant currencies), due to the impact of refranchising. Consolidated operating income increased 5% (7% in constant currencies).

For the full year, global comparable sales grew 3.8%, including positive comparable sales across all segments, while consolidated revenues decreased 3% (flat in constant currencies). Consolidated operating income increased 8% (11% in constant currencies).

Fourth quarter comparable sales declined 1.3% in the U.S., reflecting the challenging comparison against the prior year launch of the very successful All-Day Breakfast. Operating income for the quarter decreased 11%, as the U.S. lapped a prior year gain on the strategic sale of a unique restaurant property. Entering 2017, McDonald's U.S. said it will continue to focus on growing guest traffic. Comparable sales for the International Lead segment increased 2.8% for the quarter, reflecting strong comparable sales growth across most of the segment, led by the U.K. Fourth quarter operating income for the segment increased 1% (6% in constant currencies), fueled by sales-driven improvements in franchised margin dollars across most markets.

Fourth quarter comparable sales increased 4.7% in the High Growth segment led by strong performance in China and positive results across the entire segment. The segment's operating income rose 16% (18% in constant currencies), driven primarily by improved restaurant profitability in China, which benefited from recent VAT reform.

Fourth quarter comparable sales rose 11.1% in the Foundational markets led by very strong performance in Japan and certain markets in Latin America, as well as solid results across the segment's remaining geographic regions. For the segment, which includes Corporate SG&A and other costs, operating income increased for the quarter. These results primarily reflect a gain from the sale of McDonald's Singapore in connection with the Company's refranchising initiatives, as well as improved performance in Japan.

Steve Easterbrook said, "For McDonald's, 2016 was a year of purposeful change as we focused on the key elements of our turnaround plan - strengthening our business to drive long-term sustainable growth by sharpening our focus on our customers, right-sizing our structure and putting the right talent in place to lead the Company into the future. I'm confident that we are well-positioned to transition to a longer-term focus in 2017. Our refranchising efforts and financial discipline will enable us to direct our capital and G&A resources towards new strategic opportunities to deliver on our long-term strategy."

"We look forward to providing further details on our strategy and financial targets later this quarter. As we begin the first quarter of 2017, we are mindful of the comparison we face against first quarter 2016 results, which benefited from leap year, favourable weather and continued momentum from All-Day Breakfast in the U.S."

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