After a recent announcement in which US fastfood retailer McDonald's warned that full-year earnings on shares were hampered by weak foreign currencies, and particularly the euro, the New York Stock Exchange witnessed a rapid fall in the company's share value by 2.5%, or 69 cents, to US$26.5. Full-year earnings could be cut by 7 cents a share, 2 cents more than expected. Chief financial officer Mike Conley was anxious to stress that the amount was merely an estimate, and subject to change, and reiterated the company's plans to grow annual earnings per share by 10-15%.

McDonald's has revealed that August sales figures have increased by 8% since 1999, although in Europe they fell by 4%. Chairman for the company, Jack Greenberg, was unfazed by the effects of weak currency in Europe. He commented: "Our global business remains solid and growing, and the US improvements in our business are beginning to show positive results in customer attitudes and food sales trends."

Trouble at Olympic Games

Sometimes it seems that McDonald's cannot fail to increase its worldwide sales when it uses its muscle to challenge its fastfood competitors in court. Following the most recent legal action, the US catering giant Aramark Corp has been banned from revealing company logos on the uniforms of thousands of staff members employed for the duration of the Olympic Games in Sydney. Macdonald's is one of the top Olympic partners, and feeling uncomfortable with the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games-approved uniforms that employees of Aramark and its JV partner Spotless were to wear, Ronald demanded the removal of all corporate branding. Aramark and Spotless had won the largest catering contract of the games, but have now been forced to apply white, iron-on patches to all logos. One catering executive was incredulous, saying, "this is a ridiculously late term distraction."

Earlier this week another Games caterer, Eurest Australia, was forced to remove hash browns, steak damper and egg and bacon damper from its menu, after the US chain revealed concerns that the items were too close to the McDonald's menu for comfort. McDonald's has declined to comment on the cases.