© Reuters. McDonald’s (MCD) Franchise Checks Point to Sales Strength – BTIG

By Sam Boughedda

In a note to clients Friday, BTIG analysts provided positive commentary on McDonald’s (NYSE:) shares.

The analysts, who have a Buy rating and $280 price target on the stock, told investors franchise checks point to sales strength, not weakness, while reduced overtime could drive margin expansion.

Earlier this week, they said BTIG spoke with several McDonald’s franchisees, discussing the current sales environment, plant-based meat, labor, commodities and automation.

“We came away confident that sales remain healthy in the U.S., despite outsized and the spike in gas prices this summer,” they stated.

“Our franchise contacts indicated relatively consistent trends in recent months, with no noticeable deceleration from economic or external factors. At least one expressed surprise sales were holding up as well as they have given recessionary fears, utility costs, etc. and noted hearing anecdotes of trade-down from fast casual/casual dining and shifts from grocery but couldn’t quantify such impacts,” they added.

The analysts concluded that McDonald’s is “one of the strongest restaurant concepts in the world that is in the middle stages of a multi-year sales recovery.”

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