McDonald’s Holdings Co. (Japan) said Tuesday it saw a more than eight-fold increase in net profit to 1.12 billion yen during the January-June period due to a popular new menu and sales promotions.

It was the company’s first positive growth in revenue and earnings since the first half of 2000. The hamburger chain has 3,760 restaurants nationwide.

“This business turnaround is a direct result of new growth strategies we adopted last year,” Pat Donahue, chairman of McDonald’s Holdings, told a news conference in Tokyo.

Revenue was up 2.1 percent to 149.66 billion yen.

On an operating basis, before counting extraordinary losses and gains, the firm reversed a year-earlier loss of 569 million yen to post a profit of 2.65 billion yen.

After posting its first loss in nearly 30 years in 2002, the chain has been trying to regain its luster. Donahue became chairman in May 2003. In March this year, Eiko Harada, former chief of Apple Japan Inc., became CEO.

The chain reviewed store operations and implemented cost-cutting measures, including calling for voluntary retirement at its headquarters.

“In a word, we can say it is the improvement of operational productivity,” Harada told the news conference.

During the six-month period, same-store sales — sales of stores open at least 13 months — grew 4.2 percent from a year earlier. After booking negative growth for months, same-store sales started to show positive figures in the final quarter of 2003.

The chain said its new regular menu, which includes the Fish McDipper and the McGrand, helped to lure back customers.

Promotional campaigns also helped.

In January, it attracted a record 5.03 million customers daily when it gave away a free hamburger coupon to each customer who bought a hamburger. Its Happy Set toys, which featured popular “Ojaru-maru” animation characters, broke daily sales records in February.

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