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McDonald's reports 2.2% sales fall

Global sales fell 2.2% at McDonald's in November as the US market continues to soften and it contends with ongoing difficulties from a food safety scandal in China.

The fast-food giant said the drop in global sales at locations open at least 13 months included a 4.6% decline in the US and a 4% fall for the unit that includes the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East and Africa.

McDonald's Asian business has been trying to bounce back since the summer, when a TV report in China showed workers at one of its suppliers repackaging meat that was alleged to be expired. The claim has not been publicly confirmed by the supplier or the government.

Illinois-based McDonald's said comparable sales for Europe fell 2%.

McDonald's said its US business was hampered by strong competition.

The chain has previously said it is working on simplifying its menu so its restaurants have room to offer options best-suited for their regions. This process is expected to start in January.

One of its biggest challenges in the US is long-held perceptions around the freshness and quality of its ingredients. The chain has been fighting to boost sales as people gravitate toward foods they feel are more wholesome. As a result, people have been heading to places like Chipotle, which markets its ingredients as being of superior quality.

In Europe, a strong performance in the UK was more than offset by weakness in Russia, France and Germany last month.

McDonald's has more than 35,000 locations in more than 100 countries. Its stock fell 2.9% before the US market opened today.

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