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24/07/01 . Unknown . . UK  
McDonald's profits slump amid food scares  

McDonald's has shown how CJD and the foot-and-mouth crisis has hit home as the fast food chain unveiled a slump in second-quarter profits.

Chairman and chief executive Jack Greenberg said the past six months had been tough, adding the group was considering shutting 250 underperforming restaurants as a consequence.

For the three months to June, net earnings dropped 16% to hit 440.9 million US dollars (310.6 million), while sales were flat at 10.24 billion US dollars (7.21 billion).

But the restaurateur said recent sales improvements in the poorly-performing European markets may signal the worst of the food scares were over.

Mr Greenberg added: "While these results are below trend line, we are encouraged by improved performance in Europe, where we saw sequential improvement in comparable sales throughout the quarter."

Most of the 250 restaurants being assessed for closure are based in emerging markets rather than well-established locations.

McDonald's has more than 29,000 restaurants in more than 120 countries, of which about 1,100 are in the UK.

The group also reported interim results: for the first six months of 2001, net income was 819.2 million US dollars (677.1 million), down 16% on last year's figure.

Sales showed a modest increase, from 19.74 billion US dollars (13.91 billion) a year ago to 19.89 billion US dollars (14.01 billion).  
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