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Breakfast, Dollar Menu raise McD’s January comps

OAK BROOK Ill. McDonald’s Corp. credited strong breakfast and Dollar Menu sales for a 1.9 percent U.S. same-store sales increase for the month ended Jan. 31, an uptick from the flat comparable sales in December that triggered an unusual fall in the burger giant’s share price last month.

Globally, McDonald’s same-store sales outpaced the U.S. uptick and rose 5.7 percent for the month. January same-store sales increased 8.2 percent in Europe and 7.8 percent in the company’s Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa region.

The company, in a statement released Friday, pointed to unique premium and value menu items for the positive performance in Europe, especially in France, Germany and the United Kingdom. Extended operating hours and menu options geared to local consumer tastes drove performance in Australia, China and other markets in the APMEA region, the company said.

Total systemwide sales rose 13.4 percent in January, or 7.1 percent in constant currencies, McDonald’s also reported.

Many analysts, who have been scrutinizing McDonald’s domestic same-store sales performance for a correlation to the country’s struggling economy, said they were pleased that guest traffic and sales for the 30,000-unit quick-service leader had returned to positive territory and seemed to be accelerating.

In the spring, McDonald’s has plans to introduce “Southern Style” chicken products and a Southwestern Salad. In addition, the chain plans to introduce espresso-based beverages on a market by market basis. Analyst John Ivankoe at JP Morgan said the new products “will likely increase frequency and brand affinity with higher income consumers.”

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