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Pushed by international sales, McDonald's and Coca-Cola post upbeat numbers

February 9, 2010 | 10:12 am

Two of the world’s largest food and beverage companies – McDonald’s Corp. and the Coca-Cola Co. – said Tuesday that they have countries other than the U.S. to thank for their recent strong performance.

McDonald’s, the fast-food industry’s leader, said sales in stores open at least 13 months jumped 2.6% in January, pushed along by 4.3% leaps in Europe and the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions.
Though the company still outpaced its competition in the U.S., McDonald’s said, sales in this country fell 0.7%. But additions such as the breakfast Dollar Menu, the Mac Snack Wrap and free Wi-Fi helped bolster the numbers.

Including the effects of new restaurants opening and locations closing, total sales across the company increased 9.1%. The U.S. saw a 0.1% decline, while sales soared 6.7% in Europe and 7.2% in the rest of the world.

The numbers were stronger in France and Britain than they were in Germany, while Chinese New Year led to weaker sales in China than in Japan and Australia. The company expects tax impairment charges between $40 million and $50 million, mostly in the first half of the year, due to plans to close 430 restaurants in Japan.

McDonald’s, based in Oak Brook, Ill., has more than 32,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries.

Coca-Cola, the world’s largest beverage maker, said strong sales in China and India helped lift the volume of sales 5% in the fourth quarter of 2009 and 3% for the full year.

Revenue for the quarter jumped 5%, to $7.51 billion from $7.13 billion, while dropping to $31 billion from $31.94 billion over the year. Profit for 2009 rose 17%, to $6.82 billion from $5.81 billion.

The number of products sold dropped 1% in North America, but the company was buffered by a 7% jump in Latin America, an 11% boom in the Pacific region, a 5% gain in the Eurasia and Africa divisions and a 1% uptick in Europe.

The Atlanta-based maker of Diet Coke, Sprite and Dasani water said unit sales climbed 29% in China and 20% in India. France, an established market, posted a 12% volume increase.

The volume of juices, teas and other products in the still beverage category went up 9%.

-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo credit: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times