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McDonald's April Same-Store Sales Rise Smaller-Than-Expected 3.3%

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES McDonald's Corp.'s (MCD) global same-store sales rose a smaller-than-expected 3.3% in April as the world's largest fast-food chain wrestles with a challenging global economic environment. Last month, the company said it expected global sales at restaurants that have been open at least 13 months to rise about 4%. Meanwhile, analysts were expecting a 4.29% rise, according to Consensus Metrix. McDonald's has been able to boost guest traffic and sales faster than most of its competitors with its increasingly diverse menu--ranging from value-price offerings to higher-margin products like blended-ice drinks--and its growing global operations. But the hamburger chain had warned the global economic climate remains challenging with varying degrees of consumer confidence, economic pressures and inflationary costs. McDonald's said April systemwide sales rose 2.2%, or 5.5% in constant currencies. Same-store sales in the U.S. rose 3.3%, missing the analysts' growth estimate of 5.23%. The company attributed its growth to its recently launched Extra Value Menu, which made the chain an affordable choice for an increasing number of consumers. In Europe, same-store sales grew 3.5%, ahead of analysts' forecast for a 3.17% increase, driven by its major markets: France, the U.K., Germany and Russia. The Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region posted a 1.1% increase, while analysts projected a 2.79% rise. McDonald's said positive results in China and many other markets were partially offset by negative results in Japan. McDonald's last month reported its first-quarter earnings rose 4.8% as sales grew slightly faster than expected, signaling the company continued to prove resilient against broader economic woes. Shares were recently trading 2.6% lower at $93.05 premarket. The stock is down 4.8% since the beginning of the year, through Monday's close. -By Melodie Warner, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2283;

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