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McDonald’s earnings miss estimates as rising costs weigh on profits

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Signage outside a McDonald’s Corp. fast food restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021.
Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg | Getty Images

McDonald’s on Thursday reported quarterly earnings and revenue that missed analysts’ expectations as higher costs weighed on its profits.

It marks the fourth earnings miss for the company in eight quarters.

Shares of McDonald’s fell more than 2% in premarket trading.

Here’s what the company reported for the quarter ended Dec. 31 compared with what Wall Street was expecting, based on a survey of analysts by Refinitiv:

Earnings per share: $2.23 adjusted vs. $2.34 expected
Revenue: $6.01 billion vs. $6.03 billion expected

The burger chain reported fourth-quarter net income of $1.64 billion, or $2.18 per share, up from $1.38 billion, or $1.84 per share, a year earlier. Operating costs and expenses rose by 14% in the quarter.

Excluding charges related to the sale of McD Tech Labs to IBM and other items, McDonald’s earned $2.23 per share, falling short of the $2.34 per share expected by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv.

Net sales rose 13% to $6.01 billion, missing expectations of $6.03 billion. The company’s same-store sales climbed 12.3% from a year ago and 10.8% on a two-year basis.

In McDonald’s home market, same-store sales rose 7.5%, topping StreetAccount estimates of 6.9%. On a two-year basis, U.S. same-store sales climbed 13.4%. The company credited menu price hikes, its growing loyalty program and promotional menu items like the McRib for the market’s strong performance.

Likewise, McDonald’s saw strong performance from restaurants outside the U.S. Its international developmental licensed division, which includes Japan and Latin America, reported same-store sales growth of 14.2%, crushing StreetAccount estimates of 9%. However, China reported same-store sales declines as the country faced Covid-19 resurgences in the quarter.

The company’s international operated markets segment, which includes the United Kingdom, Australia and France, saw same-store sales growth of 16.8%, narrowly topping estimates of 16.5%.

For the full year, digital sales surpassed $18 billion.

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