McDonald's April sales down but beat expectations

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McDonald's sales fall

McDonald's worldwide sales at established restaurants fell 0.6 percent in April as the fast-food giant fights to lure back customers and boost sales.

Sales at the company's U.S. restaurants open at least 13 months fell 2.3 percent last month, their third straight quarter of decline. The United States is McDonald's top region for profit.

"They admit that they're still losing to some strong competitive activity out there. They're still seeing negative traffic in the U.S.," Guggenheim restaurant analyst Matthew DiFrisco said on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

Analysts on average had estimated a 1.8 percent fall in the company's worldwide same-restaurant sales in April, according to analysts polled by research firm Consensus Metrix. That included an expected 2.3 percent drop in the United States.

DiFrisco said McDonald's has done pretty well in Europe, despite the economic challenges there.

New CEO Steve Easterbook, who had once served at president of McDonald's Europe, announced Monday a highly anticipated turnaround plan.

"What he's done in Europe, he can bring to the U.S. as well, which will be to improve the traffic trends and get to positive by the second half of this year," DiFrisco said.

As part of Easterbook's plan, the fast-food giant aims to accelerate refranchising and overhaul its organizational structure. McDonald's plans to increase its franchise mix to 90 percent of its locations by 2018.

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—Reuters contributed to this report.