​McDonald's U.S. sales disappoint amid turnaround efforts

Last Updated Jul 26, 2016 9:38 AM EDT

NEW YORK - McDonald's (MCD) reported disappointing sales growth in the United States for the second quarter on Tuesday as the world's biggest burger chain keeps touting its all-day breakfast menu amid its turnaround efforts.

Shares were down 3 percent before the opening bell.

The Oak Brook, Illinois-based company said sales rose 1.8 percent at established U.S. locations in the period. Analysts expected growth of 3.4 percent, according to FactSet.

The company did not say how much of the sales increase -- if any -- was from a rise in customer visits, rather than factors such as higher pricing or people trading up to pricier items. McDonald's noted that it was still the fourth straight quarter in which comparable-store sales rose in the U.S., despite "softening industry growth."

Last week, Starbucks said its customer traffic in the U.S. was flat from a year ago, and that its results were pressured by weakening consumer confidence, and political uncertainty. Dunkin' Donuts said its traffic slipped.

McDonald's Corp. is trying to win back customers under CEO Steve Easterbrook, who took over last year. The company has cited the launch of its all-day breakfast menu last fall for helping improve sales. To keep momentum going, McDonald's plans to expand the offerings later this year.

The company, which has more than 36,000 locations around the world, is also working on improving perceptions about the quality of its food in the U.S. Those efforts have included switching to butter from margarine for its Egg McMuffins, and searing its beef longer to improve the taste. Like other major fast-food chains, McDonald's is trying to shake its image for serving unhealthy, processed food as it faces pressure from smaller players promising better alternatives.

Globally, McDonald's said sales rose 3.1 percent at established locations. That included a 2.6 percent increase in the division that includes established markets like the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. The high-growth segment, which includes China and Russia, saw a 1.6 percent increase.

For the quarter, McDonald's earned $1.09 billion, or $1.25 per share, including a 20-cent negative impact from restructuring charges. Analysts expected $1.39 per share, not including one-time items.

Total sales were $6.27 billion, in line with Wall Street forecasts, according to FactSet.