|Español: Restaurant Chipottle Mexican Grill in Chicago (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
McDonald's Corp's (MCD.N) worldwide sales at established restaurants dropped for the ninth straight month, falling a steeper-than-expected 1.7 percent in February as sales in the United States were hurt by "aggressive competitive activity".
Shares of the world's biggest fast-food chain fell 1 percent to $96.16 in premarket trading on Monday.
Sales at the company's U.S. restaurants open at least 13 months fell 4 percent last month, after growing 0.4 percent in each of the two prior months.
Analysts on average had estimated a 0.7 percent fall, according to analysts polled by research firm Consensus Metrix. Worldwide same-restaurant sales were expected to drop 0.3 percent.
McDonald's has been losing market share in the United States to rivals such as Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG.N) and other smaller, regional food outlets that are seen as offering fresher and higher quality products.
"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.
February same-restaurant sales were down 4.4 percent in McDonald's Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (APMEA) business, which includes China.
Higher sales in China during their New Year were not enough to offset the declines from a food scandal last year in Japan.
While the decline in the entire region's sales was less than the 12.6 percent drop in January, it was steeper than the 3.1 percent decline analysts had expected for February.
February marked the last month of results under former Chief Executive Don Thompson, who held the top post for two-and-a-half years.