McDonald's Same-store Sales Jump in November

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NEW YORK – Consumers hungry for a deal boosted worldwide sales at McDonald's Corp.'s established locations by 7.7 percent in November, the fast-food leader said Monday.

Even recession-wary consumers in the U.S. were enticed by the Golden Arches during the month. U.S. same-store sales — or sales at locations open at least a year — rose 4.5 percent.

The Oak Brook, Ill.-based chain said the rise came from strong sales of breakfast items, chicken sandwiches and the chain's value menu options. The increase comes even as U.S. consumers increasingly opt for eating at home to conserve cash.

The past few months have been difficult ones for the restaurant industry due to the deepening of the now yearlong recession. McDonald's has been one of the few bright spots in the sector, reporting a same-store sales increase in October of 8.2 percent while several of its pricier sit-down competitors reported double-digit drops. Many chains have yet to report their November same-store sales, but analysts are expecting a similarly dismal showing.

Same-store sales are a key indicator of restaurant performance since they measure sales at existing locations rather than newly opened ones.

Total sales worldwide for the month ending Nov. 30 rose 1.9 percent. Same-store sales were also strong overseas, rising 7.8 percent in Europe and 13.2 percent in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa division.

Overseas sales gains came from the chain's open early and close late — if at all — mantra and its breakfast menu.

"Convenient locations, extended hours and quality food at an outstanding value are all reasons why people are choosing McDonald's," said Chief Executive Jim Skinner.

McDonald's has been focusing on staying open longer to gain customers during the late-night and early morning hours. The company has also added Southern Style chicken sandwiches and breakfast biscuits as well as espresso-based lattes and other drinks in a bid to gain more customers. The espresso drinks — called McCafe — are now being added to the menu at McDonald's locations across the U.S. Many European locations already offer them.