May 8, 2015 / 12:12 PM / 2 years ago

McDonald's April global restaurant sales dip less than expected

A McDonald's logo is seen at one of the chain's restaurants in San Francisco, California, May 6, 2015. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

(Reuters) - McDonald’s Corp (MCD.N) reported a smaller-than-expected fall in worldwide sales at its established restaurants in April, thanks to a stronger performance in Europe, sending shares of the company higher in morning trading.

Same-store sales at McDonald’s restaurants globally fell 0.6 percent in April, its 11th straight monthly decline. Still, that was less than the 1.8 percent drop expected by analysts polled by research firm Consensus Metrix.

Same-restaurant sales grew 1 percent in Europe, as gains in the United Kingdom and Germany offset declines in the key markets of France and Russia amid economic volatility in the region.

Shares of the world’s biggest restaurant chain were up 2 percent at $98.72 in morning trading, mirroring a rally in U.S. stocks following data that showed U.S. job growth rebounded last month in a sign the economy was picking up momentum.

Sales at the company’s U.S. restaurants open at least 13 months fell 2.3 percent, their third straight monthly decline. The United States is McDonald’s top region for profit and the company said customer visits were down in April.

Same-restaurant sales dropped 3.8 percent in McDonald’s Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (APMEA) business, which includes China, as the company tried to regain its footing following food scandals in China and Japan.

Analysts, on average, had estimated a 0.2 percent uptick in Europe, a 2.3 percent drop in the United States and a 5.8 percent decline in APMEA.

McDonald’s Chief Executive Steve Easterbrook on Monday announced a plan to reorganize business units, sell restaurants to franchisees and cut costs to turn the fast-food giant into a “modern, progressive burger company.”

Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles and Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza and Bernadette Baum

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