McDonald‚??s latest quarterly report offered a mixed bag: It reflected profits slightly higher than analysts‚?? expectations and revenue slightly below. So what‚??s that mean for investors like you and me? Consider this: For 2013, the burger behemoth reported sales at its 35,000 stores worldwide of around $90 billion. That averages out to $2.6 million per U.S. store — trailing only Chick-fil-A in per-site revenue. No wonder the company‚??s planning on adding 1,500-plus stores this year. It also is a cash machine, generating some $4.6 billion in free cash flow, which enables it to dole out a 3.4 percent dividend. That‚??s the third-largest dividend in the DJIA. And most recently, shareholders have watched their stock appreciate 10 percent in each of the last five years. So is McDonald‚??s still a solid bet for continued profits? Not quite. That 10 percent per annum gain trails the S&P 500 during the last two years, and the company has started out 2014 behind the index again. And even though it is averaging $2.6 million from each U.S. store, the amount of foot-track creating those sales is dropping. Therefore, revenue gains are being generated by rising prices at the counter — where you and I paid 3.1 percent more for Micky D‚??s than we did in 2012 ‚?? rather than by increased sales. Now that you‚??re aware of all of these factors, are you still lovin‚?? McDonalds.
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