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McDonald's sales rise in April

OAK BROOK, Ill. McDonald's Corp. said its strongest monthly U.S. same-store sales increase in some time led to a 4.9-percent jump in global same-store sales for the month of April.

Separately on Monday, the company's global chief marketing officer, Mary Dillon, a five-year veteran of McDonald's, said she would be stepping down to become president and chief executive of U.S. Cellular.

McDonald's U.S. same-store sales increased 3.8 percent in April, after registering between negative 1 percent and positive 1 percent since last autumn. Same-store sales rose 5.3 percent in McDonald’s European division and 3.9 percent in its Asia/Pacific, Middle East, Africa division. Systemwide sales rose 10.3 percent in April, or 6.4 percent in constant currencies, the company said.

“McDonald’s continues to connect with customers through our outstanding menu variety and compelling value, unbeatable convenience and contemporary restaurants,” said chief executive Jim Skinner. “These competitive advantages have powered our ongoing momentum and delivered another month of strong sales performance.”

Skinner cited the chain’s beverage program, including a $1 soft-drink promotion in some markets and the McCafe Frappe that is now in most U.S. stores, as well as everyday value messaging for the strong domestic sales.

The Oak Brook-based company had projected April sales to be at least as strong as the 4.2-percent global same-store sales increase for the first quarter, as chief financial officer Peter Bensen had told investors in a conference call that sales and traffic gains at all dayparts from the quarter were carrying over into April.

Jeff Farmer, securities analyst with Jefferies & Company Inc. in Boston, said McDonald's strong sales would likely continue in May.

“Marketing scale, remodels, value messaging and new products (like Frappes) all drove the same-store sales strength,” Farmer wrote in a research note. “We expect more of the same heading into May and note that U.S. same-store sales should accelerate versus April levels, given an easier comparison, ongoing Frappe rollout and the dollar-beverage push.”

McDonald’s credited menu diversification efforts and restaurant reimaging for sales growth in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Russia. The company also pointed to strong performance in Australia for leading APMEA’s results.

McDonald’s operates or franchises more than 32,000 restaurants worldwide.

Contact Mark Brandau at [email protected].

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