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McDonald’s turnaround efforts not working, analyst says

CHICAGO — McDonald’s turnaround efforts, including a new advertising campaign, have not led to a pickup in sales at its existing U.S. restaurants, a Wall Street analyst said Wednesday.

McDonald’s performance in the United States is critical to the restaurant giant’s overall performance, as it represents about 31 percent of its total revenue. Sales at McDonald’s U.S. restaurants open at least 13 months have not increased since October 2013. The company is trying a variety of methods to help reignite its U.S. sales. Those include a new advertising campaign launched in early January and an effort to answer customers’ questions about its food, which began in October.

Other changes include trimming some weak-selling items from the menu, updating restaurants and packaging, and expanding the Create Your Taste kiosk system that offers more personalized burgers and chicken sandwiches. In a report Wednesday, Janney analyst Mark Kalinowski said he expects McDonald’s January U.S. same-store sales to fall 1.7 percent.

McDonald’s U.S. same-store sales fell 3.3 percent in January 2014, which the chain blamed on “broad-based challenges,” including the severe winter weather that kept potential customers at home.

“We are somewhat surprised by the feedback we’ve received by franchisees regarding their expectations for January, Kalinowski said.