(Updates share price in fifth paragraph.)
Dec. 8 (Bloomberg) -- McDonald’s Corp., the world’s largest restaurant chain, said sales at stores open at least 13 months rose 7.4 percent globally last month, driven by demand in Japan and China.
Analysts forecast a gain of 5 percent, the average of five estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales in Asia, Africa and the Middle East advanced 8.1 percent, the most since December last year, the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company said today in a statement. Analysts projected a gain of 5.9 percent.
Chief Executive Officer James Skinner has sought to compete with Yum! Brands Inc.’s KFC and Pizza Hut chains in China by accelerating store growth. McDonald’s will open as many as 250 locations in China in 2012 and has opportunities to grow in other Asian nations including South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, Chief Financial Officer Peter Bensen said at an investor meeting last month.
“China is big enough and there’s enough runway for growth for both” McDonald’s and Yum, Peter Saleh, an analyst at Telsey Advisory Group in New York, said today in an interview. Right now, McDonald’s is focused on opening free-standing locations with drive-throughs while Yum is in more strip malls, he said.
McDonald’s rose 0.5 percent to $96.92 at the close in New York. The shares have climbed 26 percent this year.
Sales in all regions topped estimates, helped by peppermint mochas and chicken McNuggets in the U.S. and promotions in Europe. Both U.S. and European sales rose 6.5 percent. Analysts were expecting growth of 5 percent and 4.3 percent respectively.
Asia, Africa and the Middle East account for more than 20 percent of McDonald’s revenue. About one-third comes from U.S. restaurants.
McDonald’s, along with other restaurants, is facing surging ingredient costs and has raised menu prices this year. Commodity inflation will be as much as 5.5 percent in the U.S. and 3.5 percent in Europe during 2012, Bensen said last month.
Comparable, or same-store, sales are an indicator of a company’s growth because they include only older restaurants. McDonald’s October comparable-store sales increased 5.5 percent globally.
There are about 33,100 McDonald’s locations worldwide, more than 80 percent of which are franchised.
--Editors: James Callan, Robin Ajello
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