More signs of economic recovery as McDonald’s Q1 sales surpass pre-pandemic levels

Marianne Wilson
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McDonald’s got off to a strong start in 2021, reporting sales and earnings that topped expectations amid strong U.S. sales.

The fast-food giant reported that its net sales rose 9% to $5.12 billion for the quarter ended March 31, beating Street of $5.03 billion. Global same-store sales increased 7.5% in the quarter, surpassing 2019 levels, and driven by strong U.S. growth, where same-store sales rose 13.6%. 

Net income totaled $1.54 billion, or $2.05 per share, up from $1.11 billion, or $1.47 per share, a year earlier. Adjusted earnings were $1.92 per share, beating the $1.81 per share expected by analysts.

"Our first quarter 2021 global comparable sales and revenues surpassed first quarter 2019 levels, even as resurgences and operating restrictions persist in many parts of the world," said Chris Kempczinski, CEO of McDonald's, adding that “ …. we're maximizing our marketing in a culturally relevant way, committed to the great tasting customer favorites on our core menu and doubling-down on digital, delivery and drive-thru to create a faster and easier customer experience."

McDonald’s raised its systemwide sales outlook for 2021 from growth in the low double digits to the mid-teens.