March 10 - McDonald's blames bad weather and competition for its fourth straight monthly fall in U.S. same-store sales. Fred Katayama reports.
Blame the weather. McDonald's same store sales fell 1.4 percent in the U.S. last month, and the world's largest restaurant chain said the severe winter weather kept customers from visiting its stores. That's the fourth straight month of declining sales at its existing stores. Weather aside, severe competition has also battered McDonald's. Wendy's grabbed the momentum with hits like its pretzel bun. And just as McDonald's toys with pastries to beef up its breakfast sales, Starbucks has added several new breakfast sandwiches, and Taco Bell is gearing up to launch breakfast items later this month. Globally, McDonald's sales fell a fraction, yanked down by weakness in Japan. McDonald's stock - down nearly two percent this year - has been outgunned by Wendy's, which has gained nearly 9 percent. The weak sales performance could eat into earnings. McDonald's CFO said the flat global sales so far this year will pressure margins in the first quarter.