McDonald's U.S. sales plunge in February

McDonald's global sales drop 1.7% in February.

McDonald's said its U.S. sales slid 4% in February and 1.7% globally, the first monthly report under new Chief Executive Stephen Easterbrook.

The decrease  marks a sharp downturn from January when U.S. sales increased 0.4%, and global sales fell 1.8%. Easterbrook, who became CEO March 1, has said his mission is to revive sales as competition intensifies in the U.S.

To that end, the Oak Brook, Ill.-based company hosted a "Turnaround Summit" for franchisees this month to encourage "renewed energy and focus" around the brand. The company has also launched a public relations campaign to fight perceptions that its food is unhealthful.

"Consumer needs and preferences have changed, and McDonald's current performance reflects the urgent need to evolve with today's consumers, reset strategic priorities and restore business momentum," the company said in a statement.

The disappointing sales come only five days after the company said it would phase out the use of chickens raised with antibiotics important to human health over the next two years, and stop selling milk from cows treated with the artificial growth hormone rbST.

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