US fastfood giant McDonald's has reported a 10.1% rise in systemwide sales for McDonald's restaurants in the third quarter, or 6.6% at constant currencies.

Worldwide comparable sales rose 5.8%. The company also reported preliminary third quarter earnings per share of about US$0.61, up 42%.

"By keeping our focus on our customers, McDonald's competitive position is strengthening. Driven by robust US performance and our Plan to Win, worldwide comparable sales have been positive for six consecutive quarters and our profitability continues to improve," said president and CEO Charlie Bell.

The company's European operations recorded sales growth of 11.2% for the third quarter to 30 September, or 1.7% at constant currencies. Comparable sales edged up 0.3%.
Bell said that in Europe, high unemployment and stagnant economic growth in several countries - most notably Germany - continued to affect its business. Comparable sales were positive in France and up slightly in the United Kingdom.

In the US, the company's third-quarter sales rose 9.0%, while comparable sales rose 8.5%.

In the company's Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region, sales rose 10.9% in the third quarter, a rise of 5.8% at constant currencies. Comparable sales rose 5.4%.

"In Asia, our business is benefiting from initiatives to enhance the variety and value of our menu. Japan, Australia and China each had strong comparable sales for the month and quarter," Bell said.