McDonald's surprises with US sales gain; shares soar

McDonald's posted a surprise gain in a key November sales figure, sending McDonald's shares soaring 2.2 percent in premarket trading. The strong report was a pleasant surprise for McDonald's after a sales drop in October. 

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    A McDonald's sign is shown at the entrance to one of the company's restaurants in Del Mar, California in this September 2012 file photo McDonald's posted a surprise sales gain for November, a month after posting its first sales loss in nearly a decade.
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 McDonald's Corp. said Monday that a key sales figure rose in November, and investors sent shares in the world's biggest hamburger chain up 2.2 percent in premarket trading.

The increase follows a decline in October, the first drop in McDonald's key monthly sales gauge in nearly a decade.

The U.S.-based company said global sales at restaurants open at least 13 months rose 2.4 percent for the month ended Nov. 30. The figure is a key metric because it strips out the impact of newly opened and closed locations.

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The figure rose 2.5 percent in the U.S. It went up 1.4 percent in Europe, where it gets 40 percent of its business, as strength in the U.K., Russia and other markets were offset by weakness in Germany.

In the region encompassing Asia, the Middle East and Africa, it edged up 0.6 percent, hurt by results in Japan.

Systemwide sales, which includes sales at all restaurants, rose 3.2 percent.

After years of outperforming its rivals, McDonald's has seen sales growth slow as the company faces intensifying competition and an uncertain global economy. Its global revenue at restaurants open at least 13 months fell 1.8 percent in October. The last time it had dropped was in March 2003.

McDonald's has responded by renovating some stores and expanding its value menu and adding other food items to its menu.

Longtime rivals such as Burger King and Wendy's Co. are reviving their brands with improved menus and new TV ad campaigns. The broader fast-food landscape has been undergoing changes too, with the rise of chains such as Subway and Starbucks.

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