McDonald's beats sales estimates amid 'difficult trading conditions and low consumer confidence'
A strong international performance helped McDonald's beat estimates for quarterly same-store sales, amid "difficult trading conditions, and low consumer confidence".
The global fast food restaurant chain said it achieved 14 consecutive quarters of positive global comparable sales, recording an annual increase of 4.5pc.
A 103pc hike in earnings for the fourth quarter was assisted by a decline in operating costs and expenses, in addition to a drop in provision for income taxes.
However, the company attributed the full year consolidated revenues drop of 8pc to its strategic refranchising initiative, a long-term goal for 95pc of McDonald's restaurants to be owned by franchisees.
McDonald’s UK and Ireland chief Paul Pomroy said it was a strong year for the business in this region as the brand grows here.
"In partnership with our franchisees we continue to transform our restaurants through our ‘Experience of the Future Programme’ - 29 of our restaurants were modernised to now offer table service and self-order screens as well changes to our kitchens so that every order is made fresh," he said.
Recent developments from the company in Ireland in recent months include the launch of McDelivery in November and the opening of a new restaurant in Fermoy in December.
Mr Pomroy said that the firm battled with "very difficult trading conditions, and low consumer confidence" in 2018, but that the company has "no intention of slowing down" in terms of growth and store openings.
There are now 92 McDonald’s restaurants in Ireland, employing over 5,500 people.
In its full year report, the group provided expenses guidance for 2019 on a global scale and issued a long-term, average annual forecast.
The Company returned $8.5bn to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends.
On January 24, 2019, McDonald's Board of Directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $1.16 per share of common stock payable on March 15, 2019 to shareholders of record at the close of business on March 1, 2019.
McDonald's President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Easterbrook said that there is confidence in the company's Velocity Growth Plan.
The company said it expects to open around 1,200 restaurants in 2019 worldwide.