McDonald’s January Store Sales Rise 6.7% on Gain in the U.S.

McDonald’s Corp. (MCD), the world’s largest restaurant chain, said sales at stores open at least 13 months rose 6.7 percent globally last month as beverages and Chicken McBites helped the U.S. business.

Analysts projected a gain of 5.8 percent, the average of six estimates compiled by Bloomberg News. Sales in the U.S. advanced 7.8 percent, the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company said today in a statement. Analysts estimated a gain of 7.1 percent.

Chief Executive Officer Jim Skinner has boosted sales in the U.S. by keeping restaurants open longer; about 40 percent of stores now operate 24 hours a day. The chain has recently promoted classic items such as the Big Mac and Chicken McNuggets as well as a McRib sandwich and Chicken McBites at its U.S. locations, which generate about one-third of company revenue.

“They’re probably taking share from some of their peers, including Burger King,” Peter Saleh, a New York-based analyst at Telsey Advisory Group, said in an interview. They may also be taking business from Sonic Corp. (SONC) and Wendy’s Co. (WEN) because McDonald’s stores are “newer and more up-to-date,” he said.

McDonald’s will spend about $1.45 billion to remodel and modernize more than 2,400 restaurants this year globally, Skinner said during a conference call in January. In 2011, the company remodeled 2,500 stores.

Sales rose 4 percent in Europe and 7.3 percent in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Analysts estimated growth of 4 percent at McDonald’s stores in Europe and 6 percent in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

McDonald’s fell 0.9 percent to $100.05 at the close in New York. The shares climbed 31 percent last year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Leslie Patton in Chicago at lpatton5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net

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