updated 7/17/2006 10:53:48 AM ET 2006-07-17T14:53:48

McDonald's Corp. on Monday said a strong showing by its European operations, plus increased customer demand for its breakfast offerings in the U.S., led to a 5.9 percent increase in same-store sales for June.

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The world's biggest fast-food restaurant chain also issued a forecast for earnings for the just-completed second quarter that tops analysts' estimates.

McDonald's said U.S. same-store sales in the U.S. rose 5.2 percent for June. U.S. same-store sales for the second quarter were up 4.2 percent.

"In the U.S., McDonald's continues to be the favored breakfast destination, and we are now attracting even more customers. This positive breakfast trend and a popular Happy Meal promotion helped drive U.S. comparable sales" in June, said McDonald's Chief Executive Officer Jim Skinner.

Global same-stores sales rose 5.5 for the second quarter, and the company said it plans "initiatives surrounding menu choice, variety and value" as well as marketing to drive sales in future quarters.

In Europe, the company's operations in Germany, France and Britain led to a same-stores sales increase of 4.5 percent for June. Part of that was driven by promotions tied to the World Cup, McDonald's said. Same-store sales for the quarter ended June 30 were up 6.3 percent.

Earnings for the quarter are estimated at 67 cents per share, including a gain of 10 cents per share related to the sale of part of its stake in Mexican restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill in that company's initial public offering. Results also will include charges totaling 2 cents per share to an asset sales in the Asia/Pacific Middle East segment and a tax expense in Canada.

Factoring out those items would put earnings at 59 cents per share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial are forecasting a profit of 56 cents.

Same-stores sales in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa segment rose 8.8 percent in June, primarily due to strong performance in Japan and Australia.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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