McD Sales Show True Economic Picture

McDonald’s same-store sales fall, first time in 9 years | Reuters.

McDonald’s is not the same restaurant throughout the world. The company tailors its menu to the culture and tastes of the local population. In Istanbul, Muslim Turkey’s major city, bacon is conspicuously absent from the menu. In France, beer and wine are available in every McDonald’s.

The demographics of McDonald’s diners change depending on the country, too. The lion’s share of Mickey D’s patrons in the U.S. are single, working class males, but overseas the restaurant is a bit more upmarket.

The latest sales numbers confirm the current economic trends in the United States and show the future in the rest of the world.

Same store sales in the U.S. over the past 13 months fell 2.2%, and this figure supports the ongoing uneven recovery. I note that sales of luxury items are doing very well in the U.S. as a comparison.

European same store sales also fell 2.2.%, but while the number is the same it tells a different story. McDonald’s spreads its sales more evenly among demographic groups in Europe, and the decrease is a symptom of the recession taking hold in the eurozone.

The drop in sales in Asia and the Middle East is the largest at 2.8%. McDonald’s is expensive in these countries, and the sales drop tells you how the middle and upper classes are faring in these countries. Perhaps, China will not have a soft landing after all.

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