It's been less than two weeks since McDonald's (NYSE: MCD) teamed up with hip-hop superstar Travis Scott for a limited-time promotion, and it could be music to ears of the burger chain's shareholders. The Travis Scott Meal is a $6 combo meal that includes a Quarter Pounder with cheese, bacon, and shredded lettuce; paired up with a Sprite and a medium order of fries alongside a packet of barbecue sauce for dipping.
McDonald's hasn't offered up how well the partnership is doing since its Sept. 8 launch, but at least one Wall Street pro is liking what he sees from his channel checks. Alton Stump at Longbow Research put out a new analyst note on Thursday with some encouraging news for the promo that also includes some exclusive merchandise sold through Scott's Cactus Jack record label.
Stump's franchisee checks show that same-store sales have risen by more than 10% since the Cactus Jack promotion began. Sales would've been even higher if not for supply constraints. Investors normally would be cautioned not to bank too much on a limited-time promotion, but the real kicker here is that Stump's contact tells him a similar deal with another major celebrity is coming. In short, like the McRib or Monopoly game, this isn't a one-time thing for Mickey D's.
McDonald's stock is hitting all-time highs this week, and there was plenty to like here beyond this month's Scott promotion. The chain is one of the few restaurant concepts built for the new normal. It embraced digital sales before the COVID-19 crisis made it a necessity for survival, armed with a popular smartphone app and deals in place with leading third-party delivery apps.
Things haven't been perfect. Global comps did plunge 23.9% globally and 8.7% domestically in McDonald's latest quarter, but the results improved dramatically as the period itself played out. On a worldwide basis, same-restaurant sales went from declining 39% in April to 20.9% in May to 12.3% in June. On its home turf, comps improved to decline a mere 2.3% for the month of June.
With most of its restaurants now open worldwide it should eventually get back on track. The chain's low price points make it an all-weather winner, and it's just a matter of time before comps turn positive to build on last year's 6% increase.
We may as well also talk about dividends. Mid-September is when the chain has historically boosted its payouts. McDonald's is a Dividend Aristocrat, increasing its quarterly distributions every year since 1976. In a couple of days it should stretch that streak to 44 years of hikes, building on its current 2.2% yield.
Between the inevitable dividend hike and the Travis Scott Meal taking off with the potential of other celebrity deals to follow, it's hard not to warm up to McDonald's right now. The all-time highs it hit on Wednesday could be just the beginning.
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