By CANDICE CHOI, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — McDonald's Corp. said Thursday that a key revenue figure came in short of expectations in February as severe weather in parts of Europe and the timing of the Chinese New Year hurt its performance.
The world's biggest hamburger chain also noted that it's navigating an environment of "persistent economic uncertainty, austerity measures in Europe and commodity and labor cost pressures, particularly in the U.S."
The Oak Brook, Ill.-based company said the challenges are expected to hurt its first quarter operating income growth.
For February, the company said global revenue in restaurants open at least 13 months rose by 7.5 percent, driven by an extra day in the Leap Year and strong results in the United States.
But that still fell short of the 7.7 percent increase analysts on average were expecting, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters.
Shares of McDonald's fell $3.30, or 3.3 percent, to $96.88 in morning trading. They had surged to a 52-week of $102.22 on Jan. 20 but are up 33 percent from their low of $72.89 almost a year ago.
McDonald's said its strongest performance last month came from the U.S., where new menu items like the Chicken McBites and breakfast staples helped increase the revenue figure by 11.1 percent.
But in Europe, which is McDonald's largest market by revenue, the metric rose by just 4 percent. The figure rose by 2.4 percent in the region made up of Asia, the Middle East and Africa region, where the company is focusing its expansion efforts this year.
Revenue in restaurants open at least 13 months is a key measure of a restaurant chain's performance because it excludes the impact of recently opened or closed stores. It does include the company's temporarily closed restaurants.
The figures are a snapshot of money spent on food at both company-owned and franchised restaurants. They do not reflect corporate revenue.
McDonald's has more than 33,000 restaurants in 119 countries.
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