McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) released its latest earnings report before opening bell this morning, posting diluted earnings of $1.09 per share on $6.99 billion in revenue. The company reported that its earnings were impacted by special items that cut per-share results by 42 cents, which means that excluding the special items, earnings would have been flat year over year. Analysts had been expecting adjusted earnings of $1.37 per share on $7.19 billion in revenue.

McDonald's Corporation Earnings Disappoint

In the same quarter a year ago, the fast food chain reported $7.32 billion in revenue and earnings of $1.52 per share.

Key metrics from McDonald’s earnings report

McDonald’s reported a 3.3% decline in same store sales, which was worse than the 2.8% decline expected by analysts. The fast food chain cited negative guest traffic and heated competition in all of its top segments and also negative impacts from suppler problems in some markets.

The company’s negative special items include a 26 cent per share charge because of a tax reserve increase in connection with issues in some foreign markets. McDonald’s saw a 15 cent per share impact from suppler problems that resulted in lost profitability and sales. Temporary store closures in Ukraine and Russia weighed on the company’s earnings by 1 cent per share.

The company’s 30% decline in profits was due to problems in U.S. and China. Management said they expect weak results for this month as well.

“The internal factors and external headwinds have proven more formidable than expected and will continue into the fourth quarter, with global comparable sales for October expected to be negative,” said President and CEO Dan Thompson in a statement. These significant challenges call for equally significant changes in the way we do business.”

Thompson said that in the U.S., they’re returning the decision-making to the restaurant level, while internationally, they’re “taking action to restore customer trust and regain business momentum.”

McDonald’s returns cash to shareholders

So far this year, McDonald’s has returned $4.6 billion to shareholders. The fast food chain has a three-year cash return target of $18 billion to $20 billion. Last month, the company’s board of directors increased the quarterly dividend to 85 cents per share.