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Strong sales in Europe help McDonald's in August

Jin Lee | Bloomberg | Getty Images

McDonald's reported a better-than-expected 1.9 percent increase in global sales at established restaurants in August, helped by stronger sales in Europe.

Sixteen analysts polled by Consensus Metrix expected sales at restaurants open at least 13 months to rise 0.30 percent.

The world's biggest fast-food chain is fighting to boost sales as smaller U.S. rivals Wendy's and Burger King Worldwide launch attractive promotions and attention-grabbing food such as bacon sundaes.

(Read more: McDonald's reptile ruckus verdict: It's chicken)

To compete, McDonald's has introduced items such as premium wrap sandwiches and blended-ice beverages. This helped boost sales, particularly in Europe, its biggest market by revenue.

Same-store sales in Europe rose 3.3 percent in August, helped by strong sales in the UK, France and Russia. Analysts had expected a 0.1 percent fall in August.

Europe just edges out the United States as McDonald's top market for sales, with France, Germany and the U.K. being the top contributors from the region.

The company said same-restaurant sales in the United States rose 0.2 percent. Analysts had expected same-restaurant sales in the region to rise 0.8 percent.

(Read more: McDonald's revamping 'Dollar Menu' to include $5 items)

In Asia/Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, same-restaurant sales fell 0.5 percent in August. Analysts had expected sales to fall 1 percent.

McDonald's shares were trading at $96.80 pre-market on Tuesday.

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