McDonald's key October sales top expectations

Tue Nov 8, 2011 11:28am EST
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By Lisa Baertlein

(Reuters) - McDonald's Corp (MCD.N: Quote) reported a bigger-than-expected rise in worldwide October sales at established restaurants as it continues to outperform competitors in an uncertain global economy.

McDonald's said on Tuesday sales at restaurants open at least 13 months rose 5.5 percent globally.

Analysts were looking for a 4.5 percent gain, according to Thomson Reuters data and McDonald's had previously forecast an increase of 4 to 5 percent.

McDonald's shares initially rose about 1 percent on Tuesday but were down 0.4 percent at $94.26 by late morning. The shares are up 25 percent from a year ago.

Europe is grappling with debt worries; stubbornly high unemployment is stifling economic recovery in the United States; and, China's government is tapping on the brakes in an effort to cool inflation.

Still, McDonald's for months has reported industry-leading results.

"It's more about how well they are operating," Bernstein Research analyst Sara Senatore said, noting that the company is outpacing rivals in Europe and the United States -- its biggest markets.

McDonald's has been increasing its lead over hamburger chains including Wendy's Co WEN.N and Burger King Corp BKCBK.UL by attracting a broader range of diners than fast food's typical young adult males.   Continued...

<p>Customer Steven Price sits at a table near a HDTV screen showing the new McDonald's Channel featuring a commerical about McCafe drinks at a McDonald's restaurant, part of the test market for the channel in Norwalk, California October 17, 2011. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>