Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hungry times, and McDonald's is lovin' it

As the economy turns downward, McDonald's Corp. [MCD-N] is super-sizing itself.

In a move that bucks the trend of shrinking companies and corporate cost cutting, the fast-food giant has unveiled plans for a $2-billion (U.S.) expansion, including opening more than 1,000 new restaurants globally.

The strategy is based on one cold, hard reality: Consumers will pinch pennies more tightly during a recession, and McDonald's expects to sling more Big Macs and McChickens in 2009 than ever before.

Based on sales in the past few months, chief executive officer Jim Skinner has reason to be bullish. Though McDonald's has often declared itself to be recession-proof, the downturn has become so deep it has turned into turned into a growth opportunity for the chain.

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