McDonald's customers are finally lovin' it as US sales increase for the first time in two years

Emma Haslett
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Higher US sales proved encouraging to shareholders (Source: Getty)

The last couple of years have been a hard slog for McDonald's - but it seems new chief executive Steve Easterbrook, has finally enticed US customers back into its stores.

The figures

Global sales rose four per cent in the three months to the end of September, the fast food giant said today, with sales in the US increasing 0.9 per cent - the region's first sales increase in two years.

Meanwhile, sales in "Lead markets" - Europe and the US - increased 4.6 per cent, which the company attributed to a strong performance in Australia, the UK and Canada, as well as positive results in Germany (which has been a tough market in recent years). In high-growth markets, sales rose 8.9 per cent, thanks to a "very strong" performance in China.

But it wasn't all rosy. Revenues fell five per cent during the quarter, to $6.6bn (£4.3bn), although the figure rose seven per cent when you strip out currency translation.

Operating income fell two per cent to $2bn, while diluted earnings per share rose 28 per cent to $1.40.

Still, shareholders were happy: shares shot up 6.8 per cent in pre-market trading.

Why it's interesting

It's been a tough couple of years for Maccy D's, which has struggled not only with volatile currencies in some of its biggest markets, but an inconveniently-timed health kick among its customers (we blame Jamie Oliver).

Last year it brought in Easterbrook (who, lest we forget, was born and raised in Watford), who wasted no time shaking-up the company's structure and taking it back to its roots.

Today it said its decision to "return to the classic recipe ingredients for [our] iconic Egg McMuffin" caused customers to go crazy for its breakfast menu.

It has also introduced a new Premium Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Deluxe sandwich, which might sound hideous to some, but has apparently gone down well.

What McDonald's said

Easterbrook said:

[The] third quarter marked an important step in the company's global turnaround - the reorganisation of our business from a geographically focused structure to business segments that combine markets with similar characteristics and opportunities for growth.

As we begin fourth quarter, comparable sales are expected to be positive in all segments. While still in the early stages, we believe our turnaround plan is starting to generate the change needed to reposition McDonald's as a modern, progressive burger company.

In short

Not a radical makeover, by any means - but higher US sales are symbolic of an improvement at Maccy Ds.

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