McDonald’s Sales Up, Starbucks Tweaks Prices

By Antonio Perez
Antonio Perez
Antonio Perez
February 9, 2009 Updated: February 10, 2009

Fast food chain McDonald’s Corp. announced on Monday that global same-store sales jumped 7.1 percent in January. Same store sales measure monthly performance of outlets that have been open for more than twelve months.

Sales in the United States during the same period increased 5.4 percent, mostly due to the popularity of the company’s value menu and breakfast items.

"We are pleased with comparable sales performance around the world," Jim Skinner, McDonald’s CEO, said in a company statement. He warned that next’s monthly sales figures could be negatively impacted by the fact that 2008 was a leap year and contained an extra day in February.

McDonald’s has been one of the only companies to benefit from the ongoing recession as cash-strapped consumers look to save on food costs. Sales have consistently increased over the past year.

"I was thinking January was going to be a pretty soft month. But again, these guys continued to thrive in a down economy," Morningstar analyst R.J. Hottovy told Reuters. "They continued to execute both here and abroad."

Starbucks Lowers Prices

Battered by recent store closures, layoffs, and a declining stock price, upmarket coffee chain Starbucks took a page out of McDonald’s book and rolled out its first value menu.

Beginning on Mar. 3, Starbucks will pair a tall latte or coffee with one of its breakfast sandwiches for $3.95. The offer is available throughout the day at any Starbucks store in the lower 48 states.

Starbucks has been hurt by overexpansion in recent years, especially in areas hard-hit by the subprime mortgage crisis. It also faces stiff competition from rival coffeehouse Dunkin Donuts and fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s. McDonald’s, in particular, has aggressively marketed its coffee products in recent years.

“During these tough times, customers need to know they’re making a smart choice when they come to Starbucks,” said Michelle Gass, executive vice president of marketing and category at Starbucks, in a company statement.

Starbucks introduced the new products pairings in response to “economic pressures facing its customers,” the statement said.

The company will also unveil two new breakfast sandwiches on Mar. 3.