McDonald's August Same-Store Sales 8.1% Higher


McDonald'sTuesday reported an 8.1 percent rise in August sales at restaurants open at least 13 months, beating at least one analyst's expectations and sending shares up sharply.

The world's largest restaurant company said menu items including Snack Wraps, Cinna Melts, iced coffee and swet tea helped drive same-store sales, a key retail measure, up 7.4 percent in the United States.

In Europe, same-store sales rose 6.1 percent, helped by a new Mediterranean menu promotion in Germany that featured a hamburger with black olives and tomatoes and a shrimp lemon burger. Sales in France were helped by promotions for a chicken sandwich with cheese and a special dessert. In Britain, the company featured a Big Tasty with barbecue sauce and a barbecued chicken sandwich with bacon.

Same-store sales rose 12.4 percent in the company's Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa unit, helped by extended store hours in Australia and China, as well as a new value menu and student card in China. The company said sales in Japan benefited from a special caramel and Oreo cookie dessert and a Big Mac promotion.

Lehman Brothers analyst Jeffrey Bernstein said same-store sales in all regions beat his expectations, leading him to raise earnings estimates for the third and fourth quarters each by a penny per share on continued sales momentum and effective cost controls.

I "consider McDonald's a relatively safe investment in a very difficult macro-environment with sales strong (and) stable, (and) costs well managed," Bernstein wrote in a research note.

McDonald's shares have gained nearly 17 percent this year, outperforming the Standard & Poor's 500 Index which is up about 3 percent over the same period.