An earthquake in Northern California and a poor McDonald's sales report top our roundup of the day's top business news stories.
McDonald’s Suffers Poor February Report
McDonald’s blamed competition and bad weather for a larger-than-expected drop in comparable global sales at established restaurants for February. The company said worldwide sales at restaurants open at least 13 months fell 0.3 percent in February, more than the estimated 0.1 drop made by analysts interviewed by Consensus Metrix. Pete Bensen, McDonald’s Chief Financial Officer, said the unchanged global comparable sales so far in 2014 “will pressure margins” in the first quarter reports. McDonald’s has suffered through nearly two years of up-and-down sales reports at established U.S. restaurants as a result of sluggish economic growth, increased competition and internal difficulties that have affected both menu and service. U.S. same-restaurant sales fell 1.4 percent, much worse than the predicted 0.6 percent. In Europe, restaurant sales rose 0.6 percent, but sales were down 2.6 percent in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
Earthquake Hits Northern California
The Northern California towns of Ferndale and Eureka were affected by a 6.9 magnitude earthquake Sunday night, according to the U.S. Geological Service. The epicenter of the quake was in the Pacific Ocean 48 miles west-northwest of Ferndale and 50 miles west of Eureka and hit at a depth of 4.3 miles. Bay Area police said citizens reported shaking for 20 to 30 seconds. The quake was officially reported as a 6.1 magnitude quake but that estimate was raised following a series of aftershocks, one which reached 4.6 magnitude. There were no reports of damage or injuries, according to safety officials in the area.
Google Will Release Software for Wearables
Google executive Sundar Pichai announced Monday that Google will soon release an Android-based software kit for wearable devices. The new software will be available in approximately two week. The announcement came at the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas. Pichai said Google is including more than just eyewear in its “wearable’’ category, although he did not address whether Google will compete with other manufacturers in the market of smart watches.
Chiquita-Fyffes Merger Has Great Appeal
Chiquita Brands International had combined with Dublin-based Fyffes to take its place as the world’s top banana company, The Associated Press reports. Chiquita is based in Charlotte, NC. The new company, ChiquitaFyffes, will have an operating presence in more than 70 countries and a workforce of approximately 32,000 people. It will become the largest company in the global banana market with sales of more than 160 million boxes annually.
Starbucks Debuts in Downtown Disney
Visitors to Downtown Disney in Anaheim for whom Starbucks coffee is a bare necessity, your wish upon a star has been granted. Starbucks has opened its first company-owned Starbucks on the Disney property, USA TODAY reports. Starbucks has licensed locations inside Disney theme parks and Anaheim and Orlando, but those are operated by Disney. Plans are brewing for more company-owned Starbucks stores in Happiest Places on Earth. The 150-seat restaurant boasts an outdoor wall designed with 1,000 native plants in the shape of a coffee cup, and inside, a behemoth video screen showing imagery of places where Starbucks grows and harvests its coffee beans. Unlike Starbucks’ theme park locations, Downtown Disney is a non-admission area, which the company hopes will attract local residents along with tourists.
Cars.com on the Sales Block
The Wall Street Journal reports that Cars.com is up for sale with a price tag of $3 billion. The site is jointly owned by Classified Ventures, a group of newspaper publishers. Cars.com is a leading site for buying and research cars. The editorial staff occasionally partners with USA TODAY and PBS’ MotorWeek on evaluations of new cars.