The McDonald's McSmackdown Continues


McDonald's (NYS: MCD) continues to prove that the Golden Arches are the gold standard in fast food. October same-store sales kept up with the burger giant's sizzling momentum.

Last month, Mickey D's same-store sales increased 5.5% on a global basis. All three of its geographic segments performed admirably despite macroeconomic pressures shaking up the globe. U.S. comps increased 5.2%, European comps jumped 4.8%, and Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and Africa comps surged 6.1%.

These are impressive figures, especially given news that other major consumer-facing companies have stumbled, whether at home or abroad. Wal-Mart (NYS: WMT) has been struggling to turn around its U.S. sales for ages now, and recent developments in China show that its international "growth engine" could choke. In another global sales glitch, Abercrombie & Fitch (NYS: ANF) shares suffered a fashion failure last week when the retailer revealed sales in important markets like Europe and Japan had lost momentum.

Clearly, McDonald's remains a consumer favorite both here and overseas, and it doesn't have too much to fret about when it comes to fast-food competitors like Wendy's (NYS: WEN) , Burger King, and Yum! Brands (NYS: YUM) .

Nobody's expecting too much from Wendy's when it reports its most recent quarterly results tomorrow (in fact, analysts anticipate a significant decrease in sales). Even Yum! Brands, well known for its aggressive expansion in China, may not have all that appetizing an outlook at the moment. It faces challenges in the Chinese market as it tries to balance affordable prices with rising food inflation there.

McDonald's linked its strong performance with its well-known Monopoly game promotion, as well as "classic core favorites" like the Big Mac and Chicken McNuggets, as well as Fruit & Maple Oatmeal and its McCafe beverages, designed to lure coffee drinkers from the likes of Starbucks (NAS: SBUX) and Dunkin' Brands (NAS: DNKN) .

As impressive as McDonald's performance has been, and as much as McDonald's continues to deliver a competitive smackdown to quick-serve rivals, investors have some reason to wonder if McDonald's stock is trading at a premium. However, despite the stock's 19% rise in the last 12 months, its forward price-to-earnings ratio of 16 still looks cheaper than Yum! Brands (forward P/E of 17) or Wendy's (forward P/E of 25).

Those who already own McDonald's shares are more than satisfied with the company's ongoing competitive smackdown. However, those who are looking to buy McDonald's couldn't be blamed for waiting for some temporary pessimism to serve up a lower stock price than the one that's on the table now.

At the time thisarticle was published Alyce Lomax owns shares of Starbucks. The Motley Fool owns shares of Starbucks, Yum! Brands, and Wal-Mart Stores. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of McDonald's, Wal-Mart Stores, Yum! Brands, and Starbucks, as well as creating a diagonal call position in Wal-Mart Stores. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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