NEW YORK — McDonald's managed to eke out a higher profit for the first quarter even as a global sales figure declined for the world's biggest hamburger chain.
The company also warned that sales for April are expected to fall slightly.
McDonald's Corp., based in Oak Brook, Ill., has been struggling to boost sales amid intensifying competition, changing eating habits and challenging economic conditions around the world.
Late last year, a monthly sales figure declined for the first time in nearly a decade. The company ousted the head of its U.S. business soon after and has renewed its focus on value.
For the quarter, McDonald's said global sales at restaurants open at least 13 months fell 1 percent. That included a 1.2 percent drop in the U.S. where it has been trying to boost sales by touting its Dollar Menu, a strategy that analysts warn could eat away at profit margins. Despite the drop, McDonald's said it increased its market share.
The sales figure fell 1.1 percent in Europe, the company's biggest region by sales. It fell 3.3 percent in the region encompassing Asia, the Middle East and Africa, reflecting weakness in Japan and negative results in China.
For the quarter, McDonald's Corp. earned $1.27 billion, or $1.26 per share. That compares with $1.266 billion, or $1.23 per share, a year ago.
Revenue edged up 1 percent to $6.6 billion.
Analysts expected a profit of $1.26 per share on revenue of $6.59 billion, according to FactSet.