McDonald’s February Store Sales Top Estimates

McDonald’s Corp., the world’s largest restaurant chain, said sales at stores open at least 13 months fell less than analysts estimated in February as low prices kept consumers coming to restaurants amid a weak economy.

Global same-store sales fell 1.5 percent, the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company said today in a statement. Analysts projected a 1.6 percent drop, the average of 13 estimates compiled by Consensus Metrix.

Chief Executive Officer Don Thompson has been pushing value items worldwide in McDonald’s 34,400 locations, including in Asia, where the fast-food chain competes with Yum! Brands Inc.’s KFC and Pizza Hut brands. McDonald’s, which has about 9,400 stores in its Asia region, has lured customers in China with delivery service, value dinners and bubble tea.

McDonald’s February sales were helped by “everyday affordable prices,” Thompson said in today’s release.

Sales fell 3.3 percent in the U.S. and 0.5 percent in Europe. Analysts projected declines of 3.6 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively, according to Consensus Metrix, a researcher owned by Wayne, New Jersey-based Kaul Advisory Group.

Sales in McDonald’s Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa region fell 1.6 percent. Analysts estimated a 1.7 percent decline. Last month, sales were positive in China, McDonald’s said in the statement. The chain plans to have 2,000 restaurants there by the end of this year, whereas Yum has more than 5,200.

McDonald’s rose 1.7 percent to $98.71 at the close in New York. The shares have advanced 12 percent this year, compared with an 8.8 percent gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

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