McDonald's Corp. reported a weaker-than-expected 3.7 percent rise in August sales at established restaurants around the world on Tuesday, as austerity measures in Europe and global economic volatility weighed on results.
Analysts polled by Consensus Metrix were expecting a gain of 3.9 percent at restaurants open at least 13 months for the world's largest hamburger chain.
Still, the results show a rebound from July, the company's worst month in more than nine years. McDonald's had flat same-restaurant sales around the world for that period, on slight declines in all three of its major regions.
August same-restaurant sales were up 3 percent in the United States and up 3.1 percent in Europe. Analysts had expected a 3.1 percent rise for the United States and a 3.3 percent increase in Europe.
Europe is McDonald's No. 1 market for sales, just edging out the United States. Positive results in the U.K., France and Russia offset weakness in Germany and certain Southern European markets, the company said on Tuesday.
McDonald's for years had been taking market share from smaller rivals like Burger King Worldwide Inc. and Wendy's Co. by rolling out new food ranging from lattes and oatmeal to fruit smoothies and salads.
But that streak seems to have come to an end as competitors match McDonald's on the menu front and step up marketing.
Same-restaurant sales from McDonald's Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region were up 5.7 percent, while analysts had expected a 4 percent gain. Strong results in Australia and China boosted the region's performance.
Shares of McDonald's were up 0.8 percent at $92 in trading before the market opened.
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