McDonald’s 1st quarter profits fall after March sales plunge

NEW YORK: McDonald’s reported a drop in first-quarter profits Thursday after sales plunged in the final weeks of the period due to coronavirus restrictions.

The fast-food giant enjoyed comparable sales growth in all three of its operating regions through the month of February, but suffered a 22.2% drop in global comparable sales in March following shelter-in-place orders and other restrictions.

“The sales trends from the second half of March have continued in April, and are expected to continue while these restrictions are in place,” the company said.

Profit fell 17% to US$1.1 billion compared with the year-ago period as revenues declined 5% to US$4.7 billion.

McDonald’s said 99% of its US restaurants are open, with most operating as drive-thru, delivery and take-away.

Several leading markets, including France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom have temporarily closed “substantially all restaurants,” McDonald’s said.

The chain has resumed operations in 99% of its Chinese locations, but said the “market continues to experience a reduced level of demand as consumers have not fully returned to their pre-Covid routines.”

Shares dipped 0.2% to US$187 in pre-market trading.