Struggles in Asia Drag Down McDonald's January Sales

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McDonald's slight success in the U.S. wasn't enough to fix the fast-food company's global sales slump.

The fast-food company announced on Monday that global same-store sales decreased 1.8 percent in January, a worse-than-expected drop. However, the chain does have something to celebrate: for the first time in more than a year, its U.S. same-store sales grew, with an increase of 0.4 percent from last year.

Sales in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa, however, fell enough to reverse positive trends from Europe and the U.S. Same-store sales in the region fell 12.6 percent, primarily due to continued negative perception of the brand in China and Japan. Sales were also damaged by a shift in the timing of the Chinese New Year, according to the company.

Related: McDonald's Franchisees to New CEO: We Need to Get Back to Basics

In late January, McDonald's announced that CEO Don Thompson would be stepping down as president and CEO, to be replaced by Steve Easterbrook, who prior to his promotion was McDonald's senior executive vice president and chief brand officer.

McDonald's has a number of changes in the works under Easterbrook, including the fast-casual friendly "Create Your Taste" platform and plans to simplify recipes while using higher quality and localized ingredients. However, in Asia, it seems like the only solution is slowly rebuilding trust and waiting for customers' memories of supplier scandals to fade – meaning it may be quite some time before McDonald's global sales hit positive numbers. 

Related: Chipotle CEO: McDonald's Chicken Farm the 'Most Disgusting Thing'

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