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Here’s what to expect from McDonald’s earnings

People wear protective face masks outside McDonald’s in Times Square as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on September 18, 2020 in New York City.

Noam Galai | Getty Images

McDonald’s is expected to report its first-quarter earnings before the bell on Thursday.

Here’s what Wall Street is expecting, based on a survey of analysts by Refinitiv:

  • Earnings per share: $1.81 expected
  • Revenue: $5.03 billion expected

A year ago, the fast-food giant reported that it was seeing “dramatic changes in consumer behavior” stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, pushing net sales down by 6%. This quarter, analysts are forecasting that the company’s revenue will be higher than pre-pandemic levels.

Like the rest of the fast-food sector, McDonald’s has bounced back in the United States from the crisis faster than the broader restaurant industry, thanks to its digital investments, drive-thru lanes and cheap prices. Last quarter, U.S. same-store sales climbed by 5.5%. Demand for McDonald’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich, which was released in late February, could boost domestic same-store sales growth this quarter.

However, some of McDonald’s international markets are taking longer to rebound as new outbreaks across Europe and parts of Asia led to heightened restrictions.

For all of 2021, McDonald’s is expecting systemwide sales growth in the low double digits, excluding any foreign currency changes. New restaurant units are projected to contribute about 1% to systemwide sales growth.

McDonald’s stock has risen 8% so far in 2021, giving the company a market value of $179 billion.

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