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The McRib That Saved Christmas? McDonald's Delays Return

Monday, 17 Sep 2012 | 2:11 PM ET

If you're counting the days until your next McDonald's McRib fix, there is some bad news: fans of the cult favorite will need to wait until late December this year, according to a leaked memo.

McDonald's McRib
Photo: McDonalds
McDonald's McRib

The pork sandwich was originally expected to be sold from Oct. 22 through Nov. 11, but the popular limited-time product will be delayed to help boost sales at the end of the year, according to a memo from the McDonald's Operators National Advertising Fund that was obtained by Ad Age. Unseasonably warm weather last December contributed to a 9.8-percent jump in McDonald's U.S. same-stores last year.

The fast-food chain is hoping the McRib's popularity will help it top this strong year-ago performance.

McDonald's will fill the void left by the McRib this autumn by offering a Cheddar Bacon Onion Angus burger as well as a similar chicken sandwich, according to the Ad Age report.

Then in February, the fast-food chain will debut Fish McBites, the report said. This is about a year after McDonald's launched a poultry version of its McBites.

McDonald's Bet on the McRib
According to AdAge, McDonald's will delay the release of its cult classic "McRib" sandwich until December to help boost sales. CNBC's Phil LeBeau, and Howard Penney, Hedgeye Risk Management, weigh in.

In recent months, the weak global economy has been taking a toll on McDonald's sales. In July, the company reported its worst monthly sales in nine years, but same-store sales picked up again in August, although they remained shy of analysts' expectations.

S&P Capital IQ analyst Jim Yin recently told CNBC that McDonald's can expect that pressure to continue to hurt its margins in the "near term." (Read More:McDonald's Outlook Still Bright After Sales Miss: Analysts)

McDonald's problems include stiffer competition from Wendy'sand Burger King Worldwide, which have been improving their performance, and also from choppy consumer spending.

This week, McDonald's will begin posting calorie counts for its menu items ahead of reforms that will mandate the practice. Jan Fields, McDonald's USA President told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" that posting calorie information isn't expected to have a big impact on consumer behavior. (Read More:How Many Calories in That Big Mac?)

-By Christina Cheddar Berk, CNBC.com News Editor

Questions? Comments? Email us at consumernation@cnbc.com. Follow Christina Cheddar Berk on Twitter @ccheddarberk.

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