OAK BROOK, Ill. – McDonald's global comparable sales slipped 1.5 percent in February as consumers grappled with economic difficulties, the company reported March 8.

"McDonald's continues to deliver what customers want — quality menu choices at everyday affordable prices," said Don Thompson, McDonald's president and CEO. "While February's results reflect difficult prior year comparisons, we remain confident in the fundamental strength of McDonald's business. We have the operating experience to manage through the current challenging environment and the right strategies in place to grow the business for the long term."

Excluding a calendar shift that added an extra day due to the leap year, global comparable sales were up 1.7 percent.

Same-store sales in the US fell 3.3 percent. Excluding the impact of the leap year, comparable sales in the US were flat compared to 2012. McDonald's said the addition of the Grilled Onion Cheddar burger and the Hot 'n Spicy McChicken to the value line-up, the popularity of its core menu items and the launch of Fish McBites supported February results. Higher gas prices and the 1 percent bump in payroll taxes have negatively impacted consumer spending at restaurants.

Comparable sales eased 0.5 percent in Europe. Excluding the calendar shift, comparable sales gained 2.7 percent on performance in the United Kingdom and Russia, according to the company. McDonald's focus remains on unique premium menu offerings, value and the expansion of breakfast and restaurant operating hours in Europe.

February comparable sales decreased 1.6 percent in APMEA. Excluding the calendar shift, segment sales climbed 1.5 percent. Positive results in China and Australia more than offset ongoing weakness in Japan. The month's sales also benefited from the shift in timing of the Chinese New Year.