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New Fish McBites can't save McDonald's sales figures

McDonald's announced global sales dropped by slightly less than expected in February.

Clone of Mcdonalds happy meals 2012 8 2Enlarge
McDonald's announced it is adding the calorie count of popular menu items to its drive throughs and menus nationwide starting Monday. The new U.S. healthcare law will demand larger chains post nutritional information later this year. (David Paul Morris/Getty Images)

Fast food giant McDonald's announced Friday that a key US sales figure was down 3.3 percent for February, reports AP.

The drop in US sales was despite the debut of three sizes of Fish McBites nuggets that became the first new Happy Meal entree in a decade.

Globally, sales at McDonald's restaurants fared slightly better than expected.

Global sales for existing restaurants fell 1.5 percent in February, slightly less than analysts estimates of a 1.63 drop, reports Reuters.

The better than expected news lifted shares of McDonald's to an 11-month high as investors gained more confidence that CEO Don Thompson's strategy is working.

"We have one more tough month. Things get much easier in April," Edward Jones analyst Jack Russo told Reuters. "I want to say they're turning the corner."

McDonald's first started to show signs of trouble in October when global sales fell for the first time in nine years.

The popularity of other chains like Chipotle and Panera is reshaping customers expectations about fast food, reports AP.

A January increase in the payroll tax is also taking a bite out of consumers' expendable incomes. Thompson, who took over as CEO this summer, said the company is renewing advertising for its "Dollar Menu" in order to attract budget-conscious diners, reports MarketWatch.

"While February's results reflect difficult prior year comparisons, we remain confident in the fundamental strength of McDonald's business," Thompson told MarketWatch.

"We have the operating experience to manage through the current challenging environment and the right strategies in place to grow the business for the long term."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/130308/new-fish-mcbites-cant-save-mcdonalds-sales-figur