Restaurant closures hurt McDonald's sales

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Unlike many restaurants, nearly all McDonald's outlets are open for business in the U.S. amid the pandemic. But closures in Europe bit into the burger chain's bottom line. Quarterly profit fell more than analysts expected, declining 17%. Revenue also dropped as the world's largest fast-food chain limited its services to delivery, drive-thru and take-away to help limit the spread of the outbreak.

After a strong start in January and February, sales slid in the second half of March. Temporary closures of outlets in France, Italy, U.K., and China hurt results, driving global comparable sales down 22% in March and 3.4% for the quarter. Nearly all of its restaurants in China have resumed operations. But McDonald's says demand remains weak because consumers there haven't returned to their old dining habits.

McDonald's shares retreated in early trading Thursday.