McDonald’s Global Sales Have Fallen Every Month for the Last Year

Data from McDonald’s. Chart by Alison Griswold.

By now I kind of feel like this chart can speak for itself, but here goes anyway. On Monday, McDonald’s reported the change in its same-store sales for the month of May and—no surprises—they declined once again. In the U.S., sales at stores open at least 13 months were down a worse-than-expected 2.2 percent, while globally the 0.3 percent dip was slightly better than anticipated. That means McDonald’s global same-store sales have now officially fallen every month for the last year. In the U.S., they’ve essentially been down or flat for the last 12 months. (The company posted 0.4 percent growth in December 2014 and January 2015.)

This is the second-to-last time that McDonald’s will have to suffer through the monthly sales disclosure. McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook said in late May that the company would cease reporting same-store sales data on a monthly basis after its second-quarter earnings and instead “focus our activities and conversations around the strategic, longer-term actions we are taking.” It’s hard to fault Easterbrook for that choice. McDonald’s was already something of an outlier in its monthly reporting practice, as Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Chipotle, and most of its other competitors don’t share monthly same-store sales info. In terms of getting its turnaround underway, McDonald’s could also stand to benefit from making decisions without riling up investors every 30 days.

In the meantime, McDonald’s has been hard at work trying to perk up its struggling business. It’s started testing all-day breakfast and customized burgers, signed a deal with Postmates for delivery, and at company-owned stores it’s given employees a raise. Smaller updates have come almost daily. An analyst note sent Monday by Janney Capital Markets reports that McDonald’s is experimenting with a “signature burger” in certain stores (two burger patties, white cheddar, tomato, lettuce, and Dijon mustard sauce on a potato bun) and has rechristened its dollar menu as the “Lovin’ Value Menu” (presumably because “Dollar Menu & More” just didn’t cut it). Who knows what else McDonald’s will dream up before its Q2 results? Wait, watch, and join us then for the finale of the Monthly McDonald’s Misery Watch.