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McDonald's same-store sales up, but Japan a drag on demand

Friday, 8 Nov 2013 | 11:20 AM ET
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Friday, 8 Nov 2013 | 9:15 AM ET
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McDonald's reported lower-than-expected comparable-restaurant sales for October as sales fell in Japan and remained weak in the United States.

The world's largest hamburger chain warned a few weeks ago that global sales at established restaurants would be relatively flat in October, and signaled that weakness would continue in the fourth quarter amid stiff competition and a halting economic recovery.

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Analysts have also raised concerns the company is suffering from execution issues rather than external factors as its results over the past year show it has been slower in adapting to changing consumer demands compared to Wendy's and Burger King Worldwide.

McDonald's global sales at restaurants open for more than a year rose 0.5 percent in October, but the growth was below the average analyst estimate of 0.6 percent, according to nine analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

Comparable-restaurant sales grew 0.2 percent in the United States, falling short of the 0.7 percent expected by analysts.

In Europe, sales rose 0.8 percent as more customers ate at its restaurants in the UK, France and Russia.

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McDonald's said sales in Asia Pacific region, the Middle East and Africa fell 2.8 percent, mainly due to negative results in Japan. The company did not elaborate on its Japan performance.

McDonald's has been reporting weak sales in Japan for the past six months.

The Oakbrook, Illinois-based company's shares fell 0.9 percent to $96.38 in late-morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

--By Reuters

Correction: An earlier version incorrectly stated the direction of McDonald's October sales in the headline.

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