McDonald's 1Q Profit Up 11% On Strong Comparable Sales Growth

McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) reported on Thursday a stronger-than-expected 11% rise in first-quarter profits and an encouraging 3% increase in U.S. same-store sales for March as the world’s largest fast-food chain continues to outperform its peers.

Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald’s said it earned $1.21 billion, or $1.15 a share, last quarter, compared with a profit of $1.09 billion, or $1.0 a share, a year earlier. Analysts had called for EPS of $1.14.

Revenue jumped 8.9% to $6.11 billion, surpassing consensus calls from analysts for $6 billion.

“Despite the challenges of the current economic environment, I am confident that McDonald's can continue to grow by listening to our customers and remaining true to our proven Plan to Win strategy,” CEO Jim Skinner said in a statement.

McDonald’s continued its strength in March, reporting a 3% rise in U.S. same-store sales that exceeded estimates from analysts. Global same-store sales climbed 3.6% last month, led by a 4.9% jump in European same-store sales. Sales at the company’s Asia/Pacific, Mideast and Africa segment inched up just 0.5%.

“As we begin the second quarter, our top-line momentum continues with global comparable sales trending in-line with or better than first quarter sales,” said Skinner.

Despite the March sales and earnings beat, shares of McDonald’s slid 1.2% to $77.46 ahead of Thursday’s opening bell. The stock has only risen 2% in 2011, but is up 11.4% from a year ago.