McDonald's Same-Store Sales Rise Slightly

McDonald's Corp. (MCD) Wednesday said sales at its hamburger restaurants open at least 13 months rose 1.8 percent in May as weakness in Germany, Japan and Britain partially offset a boost from fruit salads and extra hours in the United States.

Same-store sales rose 4.2 percent in the United States, the company's flagship market. In Europe, the company's No. 2 market, same-store sales dropped 1.4 percent, while same-store sales fell 0.6 percent in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa.

Sales in Europe have been choppy in recent months, with the company blaming economic softness in Germany and other factors.

On Tuesday, McDonald's said Russ Smyth (search), a 21-year company veteran who had been spearheading turnaround attempts in Europe, was leaving for personal reasons. He will be replaced by Denis Hennequin, executive vice president in Europe, effective July 1.

In the United States, the company's new fruit-and-walnut salad helped sales, as did expanded store hours. McDonald's has been offering financial incentives to encourage more franchisees to keep their restaurants open 24 hours.

Three Wall Street analysts had been expecting an overall rise in same-store sales of between 1 percent and 3 percent, an increase of 3 percent to 5.5 percent in the United States, and flat to down 3 percent in Europe, according to research notes.

Total sales rose 5.9 percent in May, but were up only 2.9 percent excluding the effect of the weaker dollar.

McDonald's shares were down 25 cents at $29.32 on the New York Stock Exchange (search).