A week after installing a new chief executive, McDonald's announced Monday that sales continued to fall in February. The company said its sales in stores open at least a year fell by a startling 4 percent in the United States and by 1.7 percent globally.
"Consumer needs and preferences have changed, and McDonald's current performance reflects the urgent need to evolve with today's consumers, reset strategic priorities and restore business momentum," the company said in a statement.
Same-store sales have declined more than Wall Street has predicted for more than a year in the United States, the company's largest market, and it blamed "aggressive competitive activity" for the latest sharp shortfall.
The company tried to attract customers in February with a marketing program called "Pay With Lovin'," a promotion that gave some customers free food. But consumers - and McDonald's franchisees - were lukewarm about it.
Steve Easterbrook, a British national who became chief executive on March 1, held a sort of pep rally in Las Vegas last week for U.S. franchise holders. He laid out plans for a turnaround that includes improving the company's food and marketing programs.
Same-store sales in Europe rose slightly, while they were off more than 4 percent in the region encompassing Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The company has struggled with supply issues in Asia, after a food safety scandal hit its meat supplier in Asia and delays at West Coast ports held up shipments of potatoes.
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