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Americans hungry for Burger King, sales improve in Q1

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Restaurant Brands International, the parent company of Burger King, saw its sales climb in the first quarter to top Wall Street’s view as Americans made purchases at the burger chain amid easing coronavirus pandemic restrictions.

For the three months ended March 31, revenue rose to $1.26 billion from $1.23 billion. Analysts polled by Zacks Investment Research anticipated revenue of $1.25 billion.

Sales at Burger King locations open at least a year edged up 0.7%. That’s a strong improvement from the 3.7% decline in the year-ago period, which was hindered by restaurant closures amid the coronavirus pandemic.

At Burger King locations in the U.S. open at least a year, sales increased 6.6%. The metric is a key indicator of a chain’s health.

Restaurants Brands earned $270 million, or 58 cents per share, in the quarter. That compares with $224 million, or 48 cents per share, a year earlier.

Removing certain items, adjusted earnings were 55 cents per share. This topped the 50 cents per share analysts were calling for.

The solid performance from Restaurant Brands comes a day after McDonald’s reported that its first-quarter revenue increased 9%. Its U.S. same-store sales climbed 13.6% The burger chain said that fewer diners visited, and many dining rooms remain closed. But those who did visit ordered more, with many picking up food for the entire family rather than for one person.

U.S. consumer spending in March rose at the fastest pace in nine months, the Commerce Department reported Friday, while incomes soared by a record amount, reflecting billions of dollars in government support payments aimed at putting the country firmly on the road to recovery.

Friday’s report showed that the 4.2% rise in spending reflected an increase of 8.1% in the purchase of goods and a smaller 2.2% rise in the purchase of services, a category which includes restaurant dining, entertainment and other activities which have suffered the most from the pandemic shutdowns. The expectation is that spending on services will keep rising if the virus situation keeps improving.

Shares of Restaurant Brands rose 89 cents to $68.67 in afternoon trading on Friday.

By MICHELLE CHAPMAN
AP Business Writer

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