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McDonald's Global Same-Store Sales Outpace US

McDonald's, the world's largest fast-food chain, said Friday that sales at restaurants open at least 13 months rose 5.7 percent globally in January, but sales growth in the U.S. lagged.

A McDonalds sign welcomes patrons into the restaurant in Wilmington, Del., Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2007. McDonald's Corp., the world's largest fast-food chain, says its fourth-quarter profit more than doubled, thanks in large part to the spinoff of a burrito chain and strong sales in Europe. (AP Photo/Chris Gardner)
Chris Gardner
A McDonalds sign welcomes patrons into the restaurant in Wilmington, Del., Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2007. McDonald's Corp., the world's largest fast-food chain, says its fourth-quarter profit more than doubled, thanks in large part to the spinoff of a burrito chain and strong sales in Europe. (AP Photo/Chris Gardner)

Same-store sales rose 1.9 percent in the United States, compared with an 8.2 percent rise in Europe. The Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa unit reported same-store sales growth of 7.8 percent.

Analysts have been closely watching McDonald's U.S. sales for signs of how much the the struggling economy is affecting the fast-food giant. Flat December same-store U.S. sales sent McDonald's shares down when they were reported on Jan. 28.

McDonald's had estimated that a weak U.S. economy would cut same-store sales by 1 percentage point to 2 percentage points and said late last month that it expected U.S. same-store sales to rise at least 1.5 percent in January.

The fast-food chain also forecast 8 percent to 9 percent increase in same-store sales in Europe for January and forecast a 6 percent to 7 percent increase forecast for the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region.

Total systemwide sales rose 13.4 percent in January, helped by the weaker dollar, but only 7.1 percent in constant currency.

McDonald's shares traded at $54.55 on Friday in premarket electronic trading, up from Thursday's New York Stock Exchange close of $54.46.