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26 THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE MAY 2014 COOL CARGOES I N 1988, WHEN the Berlin Wall was still standing and Russia was still a part of the Soviet Union, McDonald's opened its first restaurant in Moscow. The first of the chain's restaurants to open inside a com- munist country, it drew crowds and global attention. Today, McDonald's has 35,000 restau- rants in more than 100 nations. In April, the world's larg- est fast-food chain took a rare step backward, saying it had closed its three restaurants in Crimea after 17 years in the republic recently annexed by Russia. McDonald's denied the pullout had anything to do with geopolitics, pointing instead to the lack of banking facilities in the region, although there are growing calls to force the clo- sure of the 400-plus McDonald's restaurants spread throughout 22 Russian cities. The company's first quar- ter earnings report highlights the allure of gaining global customers and the company's desire to lower its risk. Profits and revenue fell in U.S. restau- rants but edged up globally in the quarter. Most of the compa- ny's growth will come through international markets, execu- tives acknowledged, saying they are working to shore up core markets, not just in the U.S. but also in Germany, Aus- tralia and Japan. The compa ny ha s more than 2,000 stores in China, w h e r e r e v e n u e d e c l i n e d 3.6 percent in 2013 after years By Stephanie Nall Shifting tastes and politics challenge fast-food chains' global expansion RISKY BUSINESS F A S T S E R V I C E

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