Surging sales at McDonald’s offsets trouble in China, Russia

Higher U.S. menu prices and easing COVID-19 restrictions elsewhere helped McDonald’s offset troubled markets like China and Russia in the first quarter.

Revenue rose 11% to $5.66 billion in the January-March period, topping Wall Street expectations of $5.57 billion, according to analysts polled by FactSet.

The Chicago burger giant announced in early March that it would temporarily close 850 stores in Russia. It continues to pay its 62,000 employees in the country. It also closed 108 restaurants in Ukraine in February and is paying its employees there as well.

McDonald’s has said it expects to lose $50 million per month in sales from the Russian store closures alone.

McDonald’s spent $27 million on salaries, leases and supplier payments in Russia and Ukraine during the quarter. The company also said it has $100 million worth of inventory it will probably dispose of since its restaurants are closed.

Excluding costs in Russia and Ukraine and other one-time items, McDonald’s earned $2.28 per share for the quarter, well ahead of analyst forecasts of $2.17 per share.

Global same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year, rose nearly 12% for the quarter. The easing of COVID restrictions in many markets, including the United Kingdom, France and Brazil, boosted sales, McDonald’s said.

In the U.S., same-store sales rose 3.5%. China reported negative same-stores sales as it struggled with a COVID resurgence and new restrictions.

Shares of McDonald’s Corp. edged higher before the opening bell today.