Japanese fastfood chain McDonald's Japan has reported a sharp rise in first-half net profit, boosted by cost cuts and higher sales.

The company, which is 50% owned by US fastfood giant McDonald's, posted net profit of ¥1.12bn (US$10.1m) for the six months to 30 June, compared to ¥133m in the year-ago period. First-half sales rose 2.1% to ¥149.7bn, while same-store sales rose 4.2%.

"We are very pleased with the progress that we are making," McDonald's Japan president Pat Donahue was quoted by Reuters as saying. "But we still have tremendous opportunity to continue to grow our business well into the future."

The company has undergone a restructuring plan in recent months in order to win back customers after sales were hit by mad cow disease in Japan, changing menu prices and increased competition from local rivals. As well as closing underperforming stores, McDonald's Japan withdrew from its Pret A Manger sandwich chain joint venture and revamped its core menu.

Chief executive Eikoh Harada said the company planned to further improve its products and customer service in the second half of 2004 in a bid to boost same-store sales, reported Reuters.