McDonald's Corp. (MCD) on Monday said sales at its worldwide hamburger restaurants open at least 13 months rose 2.8 percent in April as strong sales in the United States offset a decline in Europe.

Wall Street analysts had been expecting an overall rise of between 0.5 percent and 3 percent for the month, according to research reports.

Same-store sales, a key retail measure, rose 4.7 percent in McDonald's (search) flagship U.S. market and fell 0.7 percent in Europe.

McDonald's European business has suffered in recent months from economic weakness in Germany, and the company also cited a "challenging operating environment" in Britain.

The shift of Easter and related school holidays to March this year from April in 2004 also weighed on sales in Europe, the company said.

Analysts had been looking for a 3 percent to 4 percent rise in the United States. Forecasts for Europe, the company's No. 2 market, ranged from a decline of 5 percent to a rise of 1 percent.

Same-store sales were up 1.6 percent in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa as strength in Australia, Japan and Taiwan offset weakness in China, the company said.