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McDonald’s February sales figure up 3.9 percent

OAK BROOK — McDonald’s says global growth, especially in Europe, helped an important sales measurement rise 3.9 percent in February.

The world’s largest hamburger chain says sales at restaurants open at least 13 months rose 2.7 percent in the U.S. on demand for breakfast and McCafe drinks.

The sales metric is considered a key indicator of a restaurant operator’s financial health because it excludes the effects of locations that open or close during the year.

In Europe, the figure rose 5.1 percent on strength in France, where the company promoted its premium beef; the U.K., which had a Big Tasty campaign; and Russia.

Sales in stores open at least 13 months rose 4 percent in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa. Results in Japan and Australia were particularly strong.

Total sales for the month rose 8.1 percent.

McDonald’s, based in Oak Brook, Illinois, has outperformed its competitors during the past few years with an expanding menu, including its popular McCafe coffee selections, and an emphasis on low-priced items.

On Monday sandwich chain Subway said it now has more restaurants worldwide than McDonald’s — 33,749 compared with McDonald’s 32,737 — but McDonald’s pulls in substantially higher revenue.

McDonald’s, like many of its peers, is dealing with higher ingredient costs and expects to raise prices this year. The company has already increased prices in some parts of the world, which hasn’t yet seemed to dampen demand.

Year-to-date, systemwide sales rose 7.7 percent, while sales in locations open at least 13 months rose 4.6 percent.

Shares slipped 59 cents in premarket trading to $75.70.