McDonald’s November restaurant sales beat expectations

CHICAGO,  Mon Dec 10, 2012 — McDonald’s Corp. reported on Monday a stronger-than-expected 2.4 percent rise in November sales at established restaurants, helped by demand for breakfast in the United States and lower-priced offerings in Europe.

Analysts on average had expected a 0.17 percent rise in sales at restaurants open at least 13 months, according to Consensus Metrix.

The results mark a rebound for the world’s largest restaurant company, which in October had its first monthly same-restaurant sales decline in nine years.

But the chain known for its french fries and Big Macs still has some way to go to return to the sales increases it saw earlier this year. Same-restaurant sales rose 7.3 percent in the first quarter and 3.7 percent in the second quarter.

McDonald’s has seen a softening of business in the United States, its second-largest market for sales, as revived rivals like Wendy’s Co. and Burger King Worldwide Inc. cranked out tempting new premium and value products.

One week after the company announced disappointing October sales, it replaced the president of its U.S. business, Jan Fields. Jeff Stratton, who had been the company’s global restaurant officer, took over effective Dec. 1.

U.S. sales at established restaurants rose 2.5 percent in November, with sandwiches with cheddar, bacon and onions helping to attract customers, the company said. Analysts on average expected sales to fall 0.59 percent in the United States.

Same-restaurant sales rose 1.4 percent in Europe, McDonald’s biggest market, compared with expectations for a 0.1 percent increase.