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McDonald's profits continue to sink

Another lackluster earnings report by McDonald's (MCD) is ratcheting up the pressure on CEO Don Thompson.

The fast-food chain said Friday that net income for its latest quarter fell 21 percent to $1.1 billion, or $1.13 per share, down from $1.4 billion, or $1.40 per share, a year ago. Revenue fell 7 percent, to $6.6 billion, pushed down by weak sales in the U.S.

That just topped analyst profit forecasts of $1.22 per share and revenue of $6.7 billion.

So-called same-store sales, a key retail metric for locations that have been open for at least one year, fell 1.7 percent in the period, while operating income plunged 17 percent.

How McDonald's plans to recover from its slump

McDonald's, the world's biggest fast-food operator, has stumbled in recent years amid changing consumer tastes and rising competition, especially among "fast-casual" chains such as Chipotle and Panera. McDonald's franchisees are also angry that the company has expanded the menu to include many poor-selling items, which they say is hurting customer service.

Thompson said he isn't satisfied with the company's performance and plans to make what he described as "foundational improvements" in 2015 to regain lost sales and marketshare.

"2014 was a challenging year for McDonald's around the world," he said in a statement. "Our results declined as unforeseen events and weak operating performance pressured results in each of our geographic segments."

McDonald's CEO on the "McChallenges" ahead

Since taking over from former CEO Jim Skinner in 2012, Thompson has introduced a slew of new products such as Mighty Wings and Fish McBytes, which failed to resonate with customers. McDonald's hasn't had a "hit" since Skinner introduced the McCafe in 2009.

McDonald's is rolling out "Create Your Taste," a service that lets customers order their burgers to taste, in 2,000 restaurants. In response to complaints from franchisees, the company is also paring back its menu and is also bolstering its digital commerce offerings.

Still, the company remains under pressure from Wall Street. Activist investor Jana Partners has taken a stake in the burger chain and could press management for changes.

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