McDonald's experience first monthly drop in almost a decade

McDonald’s says a key sales figure fell in October, marking the first monthly drop in nearly a decade for the world’s biggest hamburger chain.

The US-based company says global sales at restaurants open at least 13 months fell 1.8% for the month. The last time the figure dropped was in 2003.

The figure is a key indicator because it strips out the impact of newly opened and closed locations.

The fast-food chain says the figure fell 2.2% in both the US and Europe. In the region encompassing Asia, the Middle East and Africa, it dropped 2.4%.

After years of outperforming its rivals, McDonald’s has seen sales slow recently as the company faces intensifying competition and a persistently weak economy.

In particular, McDonald's is facing stiffer competition from longtime rivals Burger King and Wendy's, which are reviving their brands with new ad campaigns and improved menus.

Still, McDonald’s said it would remain focused on underscoring its value message in the US.

The same was true for Europe, where McDonald’s gets 40% of its business. Amid the region’s ongoing economic uncertainty, McDonald’s said it would offer new meal combinations at various price ranges and continue remodeling restaurants.

In the Asia, the company said it plans to differentiate itself with menu offerings tailored to local tastes.

McDonald’s shares were down 61 cents at 86.23 dollars in premarket trading. CEO Don Thompson had warned last month that sales were trending negative for the month.

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