McDonald's expects profit above forecast on strong sales

McDonald's mcd said Friday its third-quarter profit will exceed Wall Street's estimates after another month of strong sales for the world's largest fast-food chain.

The company said its global sales from restaurants open more than a year rose 5.9% in September, led by an impressive 12% gain in its Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa division.

Same-store sales in its U.S. outlets rose 3.5%, increasing for a 54th consecutive month. The company cited its value menu, breakfast offerings and beverages as helping to boost sales. Same-store sales are an important gauge of performance in the restaurant industry.

McDonald's said it expects to earn 89 cents a share in the quarter, including an after-tax gain of 6 cents a share from the sale of its Boston Market franchise. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial, who typically exclude one-time items, expect a profit of 77 cents a share.

The latest results continue a hot streak for McDonald's that began in 2003 and continues for a variety of reasons including savvy marketing, discount menus and popular new products.

The company's European restaurants performed well after lagging the U.S. comeback in recent years. Same-store sales rose 5.7% with France, the United Kingdom and Russia posting the strongest performances.

The company said total system-wide sales rose 11.5% for the month and 11.8% for the quarter.

McDonald's shares were just shy of their all-time high of $57.53 reached Wednesday.

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