UPDATE 4-McDonald’s April sales rise, shares gain

* Global same-store sales up 4.9 percent

* U.S. same-store sales up 3.8 percent

* Europe same-store sales up 5.3 percent

* Shares up about 4 percent
(Rewrites; adds analyst comment; updates stock activity)

By Lisa Baertlein

LOS ANGELES, May 10 (BestGrowthStock) – McDonald’s Corp (MCD.N: )
reported a higher-than-expected 4.9 percent rise in worldwide
April sales at established restaurants, boosted by strength in
Europe, and its shares rose about 4 percent.

Sales at McDonald’s restaurants open at least 13 months
were up 3.8 percent in the United States, 5.3 percent in Europe
and 3.9 percent in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa
region.

The 4.9 percent rise from the world’s biggest fast-food
chain topped analysts’ call for a 4.4 percent gain. Sales from
Europe, which contributed the biggest proportion of revenue
last year, topped Wall Street’s call for a rise of 3.7 percent,
fueled by restaurant renovations.

Results from the United States and the Asia/Pacific, Middle
East and Africa region missed analysts’ average call for
increases of 4.2 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively.

Still, the U.S. numbers showed that McDonald’s continues to
steal market share from rivals like Burger King Holdings Inc
(BKC.N: ) and Yum Brands Inc’s (YUM.N: ) Taco Bell, which posted
domestic same-store sales declines for the first quarter.

“As the global economy improves, (McDonald’s) continues to
outpace its competitors across virtually all markets,”
Bernstein Research analyst Sara Senatore said in a client
note.

Analysts said monthly same-store sales hurdles should get
easier as McDonald’s laps weaker year-earlier results.

Monthly “comparisons for the rest of the year are pretty
darn easy. That will help them,” Edward Jones analyst Jack
Russo told Reuters.

McDonald’s shares rose $2.57 to $70.58 in afternoon trade.

Shares in Burger King were up 4.5 percent. The stock of
Wendy’s/Arby’s Group Inc (WEN.N: ), which reports quarterly
results on Thursday, was up 5.5 percent.

U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) rallied on Monday after European policymakers
agreed to a $1 trillion rescue package to stabilize world
financial markets and to help resolve the euro zone debt
crisis.

GAINING U.S. SHARE

McDonald’s U.S. sales trends have tracked with the health
of the economy. Domestic sales at restaurants open at least 13
months were down 0.7 percent in January and up 0.6 percent in
February. As consumer spending ticked up in March, McDonald’s
U.S. same-store sales jumped 4.2 percent.

April’s 3.8 percent U.S. gain followed a 6.1 percent rise
in April 2009.

McDonald’s has been outperforming its U.S. rivals with help
from its new beverage business that offers high-profit coffee
drinks like lattes and frappes and its discount Dollar Menus
that cover breakfast, lunch and dinner.

McDonald’s U.S. same-store rose 1.5 percent for the first
quarter ended March. That compared with Burger King’s quarterly
North American same-restaurant sales drop of 6.1 percent and
Yum’s 1 percent decline for the United States.

McDonald’s has nearly 14,000 U.S. restaurants in the United
States — far more than rivals like Burger King and
Wendy’s/Arby’s. It also has more money to spend on advertising
and is far ahead of competitors when it comes to selling
breakfast. The chain also appeals to a broader set of
customers, including retirees, ethnic groups and families.

Brands like Burger King and Taco Bell are stronger with the
young males who frequent fast-food chains most, but that group
is grappling with unemployment that is far higher than the
national rate of 9.9 percent.

The United States contributed 35 percent of revenue last
year, while Europe kicked in 41 percent.

The pace of sales gains in the United States and Europe,
its largest markets, slowed from March levels as expected.

Growth from France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Russia
boosted April’s results from Europe. Analysts also noted that
Germany, which recently had been a laggard, reflected
improvement in retail sales and consumer confidence.

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(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein and Dhanya Skariachan; Editing by
Gerald E. McCormick and Derek Caney)

UPDATE 4-McDonald’s April sales rise, shares gain