McDonald's new Fish McBites failed to hook enough diners to get the fast-food chain's U.S. sales growing in February.
The world's biggest hamburger chain said Friday that a key sales figure was down 3.3 percent in the U.S. for February. It noted that sales in February 2012 benefited from an extra day in the leap year. When factoring out that extra day, the company said the figure was flat. That was despite the rollout of the Fish McBites nuggets, which were also offered as the first new Happy Meal entree in a decade.
The U.S. decline was not as bad as the expected 3.55 percent decline by analysts polled by Consensus Metrix. Overall February sales at its established hamburger restaurants around the world fell 1.5 percent, better than the Consensus Metrix poll, which expected a 1.63 percent decline at restaurants open at least 13 months.
The struggle to grow at home reflects the mounting pressures on McDonald's, which had managed to pull away from its rivals and thrive even during the Great Recession. Now the Oak Brook, Ill.-based chain is facing a rapidly shifting fast-food industry, with chains such as Chipotle and Panera reshaping customers' expectations.