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McDonald's Extends Its Losing Streak

The burger chain continues to lose customers in the U.S., 10 months after announcing the need for a turnaround.

Posted on May 8, 2015, at 11:20 a.m. ET

Yoshikazu Tsuno / Getty Images

As McDonald's sets out to transform into a "modern, progressive burger company" and transitions to new leadership, sales continue to slide. The chain reported Friday that global comparable sales at stores open at least 13 months fell 0.6% in April, including a 2.3% decrease in the U.S.

Facing "ongoing competitive activity and negative customer traffic," as the company describes its problems, McDonald's U.S. business has been weak for more than a year. This is the hole it has to dig itself out of:

The company installed a new CEO, Steve Easterbrook, in March to lead the turnaround. This week the chief executive announced his first step would be a corporate restructure, leaving many questions unanswered about the strategy, including specifics around upcoming menu innovation or changes in restaurant operations.

Last July, McDonald's announced that it would take 18 months to strengthen its business and rethink its brand. The company has repeatedly stated the need to simplify its menu to speed up service, localize products and advertising, and improve its marketing to regain consumer trust.

These efforts are only recently taken off, but nearly 10 months since announcing a need for a turnaround, McDonald's has yet to improve sales. It has launched social media campaigns to reassure consumers about the quality of the ingredients it uses. Alongside a gradual rollout of customized burgers, the chain also recently removed a number of menu items including the Deluxe Quarter Pounder, six chicken sandwiches, and two snack wraps. As Easterbrook said in a release, there "remains significant work ahead."

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