US fastfood giant McDonald’s has said its US comparable sales rose 12.2% in December compared to the year-ago period, marking the fourth consecutive double-digit monthly increase.

The company’s comparable sales in Europe rose 2.3% in December, the region’s third consecutive monthly increase.

McDonald’s said global systemwide sales for McDonald’s restaurants increased 17.1% for December and 16.6% for the fourth quarter compared with the same periods in the prior year. In constant currencies, this increase was 9.1% for the month and 9.3% for the quarter. Comparable sales for McDonald’s restaurants increased 7.3% for the month and 7.4% for the quarter, which ended on 31 December.

For the year to 31 December, systemwide sales for McDonald’s restaurants rose 10.6%, or 4.9% at constant currencies. Comparable sales rose 2.4%.

In the US, systemwide sales rose 8.9%, while comparable sales rose 6.4%. Comparable sales in Europe slid 0.9%, and comparable sales in the company’s Asia/Pacific, Middle East & Africa region fell 4.2%.

“Throughout 2003, we worked to increase our relevance to customers around the world by enhancing our restaurant experience, food taste, menu variety, and leadership marketing,” said CEO Jim Cantalupo.

“Our strong fourth quarter sales performance was led by the US, which benefited from ongoing service, value and menu initiatives, as well as our reinvigorated marketing approach. December results for the US also reflected positive customer response to the introduction of Chicken McNuggets made with white meat,” he added.

Systemwide sales represent sales at all McDonald’s restaurants, including those operated by the company, franchisees and affiliates.  Comparable sales represent the percent change in constant currency sales from the year-ago period for all systemwide restaurants in operation at least thirteen months.