McDonald's sales bounce back on value deals

Associated Press Modified: September 11, 2012 at 5:15 pm •  Published: September 11, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) — McDonald's said a key sales figure climbed 3.7 percent in August, as the fast-food chain emphasized the value of its menu offerings amid the challenging global economy.

The world's biggest hamburger chain said Tuesday that its breakfast menu and value items pushed up sales by 3 percent in the U.S. Last month, the figure had dipped 0.1 percent in the region after the company said its promotions failed to drive growth.

McDonald's has been intensifying its "messaging around value," noted Andy Barish, a Jefferies analyst. For example, he noted that the company ran promotions for its breakfast Dollar Menu in mid-August.

In Europe, which is McDonald's biggest market and accounts for 40 percent of its business, sales at restaurants open at least 13 months was up 3.1 percent on strength in the U.K., France and Russia. The Oak Brook, Ill.-based company said its sponsorship of the London Olympics helped lift results.

Another strong contributor was its Coke Glass promotion, in which customers got a free glass and wristband when they bought an extra value meal or premium salad.

The strongest performance in August came from the region encompassing Asia, the Middle East and Africa, with revenue at stores open at least 13 months up 5.7 percent.

McDonald's said the increase in the region was fueled by a shift in the timing of Ramadan, the monthlong observance during which Muslims fast during daylight hours. Ramadan ran from late July to mid-August this year. It had fallen entirely in August last year.

Strong results in Australia and China also helped.

The overall results for the month were offset by weakness in Japan, Germany and parts of southern Europe that have been hit by austerity measures.

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