France, Germany and McDonald's Beat the Recession

Aug 14, 2009· 1 MIN READ

cheeseburgerThe recession battered the world’s wealthiest consumer markets with few survivors. But some countries—and companies—resisted the pinch and profited.

The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal both fronted European success stories today: France and Germany have reported their official, albeit modest, escape from the recession, thanks to government stimulus efforts and consumer spending.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the U.S. seems to be limping forward. But the American consumer probably won’t be as critical to the global economic rebound as it has been historically.

In fact, the WSJ points out that if the recovery is too quick elsewhere, the U.S. could be hit with inflation before we find our footing.

Some analysts say there’s no cause for alarm: “just as it was with synchronized recession, it will largely be a synchronized upturn.” The New York Times reported today that that consumer prices didn’t budge last month, tempering concerns that the deficit and government spending won’t encourage inflation.

McDonald’s, though, is more in sync with Europe than most businesses holding up our economy.

The cheeseburger corporation opened nearly 600 stores in 2008, and its sales growth was greater than the two years prior. Not to mention that every month this year it reported same-store-sales growth, which compares the sales of stores that have been open for at least a year.

Daniel Gross at Slate explains how the “greasy, downscale, industrialized, aggressively unhealthy” company “won the recession.” After years of trading up to expensive consumer goods and services, Americans are trading down—at full tilt.

And McDonald’s trumped the recession.

Will it survive the recovery?

A growing portion of the population has taken to healthier eating habits, and good times seem to breed food snobbery.

But dollars can create change. It’s no surprise that what you buy makes a difference—to the economy, to our recovery and to the food industry. Check out some resources to maximize your purchasing power, whether you prefer a Big Mac or the farmer’s market.