McDonald’s sales growth tops 2019 levels

Sales are sizzling at McDonald’s. The world’s biggest burger chain said Thursday its comparable global sales increased 7.5% in the first quarter. Those sales topped the levels in 2019 before the company got slammed by the health crisis.

That sales growth helped profit mushroom 39%. Both figures trounced analysts’ estimates.

Consumers are flocking to McDonald’s restaurants as increased vaccinations and the distribution of stimulus checks entice more Americans to eat out.

Also driving demand: the crispy chicken sandwiches it rolled out earlier this year. McDonald’s entered the chicken sandwich wars already fueled by frenzied competition between Popeyes and Chick-fil-A.

McDonald’s also saw strong sales growth in international markets like the UK, Australia and Canada.

The burger chain sees growth continuing. For 2021, it raised its sales forecast systemwide to the mid-teens from the low double-digits.

McDonald’s shares, which have returned 9% this year, rose in early trading Thursday.