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More McDonald's customers say: "I ain't lovin' it."

** FILE ** In this Jan. 26, 2009 file photo, a McDonald's restaurant in El Cerrito, Calif. is seen. Cash-strapped consumers kept buying McDonald's bu...
McDonald's says its sales are being hurt because fewer people are coming into the Golden Arches.Ben Margot / AP

Maybe fewer people are lovin' it.

In the dry prose of corporate press releases, McDonald's posted weaker-than-expected quarterly revenue on Thursday because of "negative comparable guest counts." 

Translation: customers are giving the Golden Arches the cold shoulder.

McDonald's has posted disappointing sales for five straight quarters, hurt by weak demand and intense competition from rivals such as Wendy's and Burger King. 

The company has roughly seven times the sales of Wendy's and Burger King combined. But it has been slower than these rivals in tempting diners with limited-time specials and promotions. 

And the forecast is not bright for a quick turnaround. "Global comparable sales for the month of January are expected to be relatively flat," said Chief Executive Don Thompson.

Efforts by Thompson in the 18 months since he took the top job — such as tweaking menus and changing management — have not been successful. New menu items, in particular lattes, smoothies, salads and wraps, have slowed McDonald's service in a business where hyper-competitive drive-through times are measured in seconds. 

McDonald's also switched its value-oriented "Dollar Menu" to the "Dollar Menu & More" in November with slightly higher prices. But the program didn't draw customers despite heavy marketing. 

Even though the company reported a fourth-quarter profit that beat Wall Street estimates and revenue rose 2 percent to $7.09 billion -- it was still below what analysts had been expecting.