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McD defies industry trends with strong Nov. comps

OAK BROOK Ill. McDonald’s Corp. said Monday that its breakfast business and chicken offerings drove a 4.5-percent same-store sales increase in the United States for November, a month when many restaurants said sales trends were only getting worse.

McDonald’s, the No. 1 quick-service burger chain, has posted a string of positive same-store sales results this year as other restaurants have suffered from a reduction in consumer spending during the recession. Worldwide, McDonald’s same-store sales rose 7.7 percent in November. Same-store sales increased 7.8 percent in Europe and 13.2 percent in McDonald’s Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa region, the company reported.

“These recent sales trends support our view that McDonald’s has become less ‘discretionary’ than staple companies selling salty snacks or carbonated beverages,” said David Palmer, securities analyst at UBS Equity Research.

The chain has benefited from consumers’ decisions to trade down from more expensive restaurants, such as casual-dining chains, to cheaper and more value-centric quick-service chains, observers noted. McDonald’s Dollar Menu accounted for as much as 14 percent of total U.S. sales in its latest quarter.

Yum! Brands Inc., the Louisville-based franchisor of Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell, said last week that its year-to-year U.S. same-store sales increased 2 percent in October and November. Starbucks Corp., which battles head-to-head with McDonald’s in the growing coffee arena, said last week its domestic same-store sales in October and November fell 9 percent from a year ago.

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