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Maddening downturn at McDonald's

March 26, 2002 The Daily Telegraph(Sydney)
MAD cow disease fears in Japan are likely to contribute to McDonald's Corp missing profit estimates for the first quarter. In Japan, sales at McDonald's restaurants, which have traded more than a year, fell during the first two months of the year because of beef-safety issues.

The 3800 burger restaurants there produce 5 per cent of the company's worldwide profits.

Japan's weak economy will force the chain to close 130 restaurants in 2002, about 30 to 50 more than usual. It still plans to open 220 there this year.

Including all writedown charges, the world's largest restaurant chain expects to earn 18c-19c a share for the first quarter -- its sixth straight quarter of decline.

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