CEO Is Lovin' It

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CHICAGO ( -- McDonald's Corp. today reported strong performance for the third quarter and the nine months ended Sept. 30.

The world's largest fast-food marketer reported net income rose 12% to $547.4 billion, or 43 cents per diluted share, for the quarter on robust same store sales.

Strong sales in U.S.
Sales at stores open 13 months or more surged 9.5% in the U.S. during the quarter, driven by sales of premium salads, "McGriddle" breakfast sandwiches and items from the chain's dollar menu. Comparable sales were still negative in Europe, Latin America and Asia, the Middle East and Africa, despite posting some of the best quarterly sales gains in Europe.

Chairman-CEO Jim Cantalupo said new menu items and other efforts were driving nearly 1 million new customer visits each day.

As a result, McDonald's also set a 3% to 5% sales and revenue growth target through 2005. The Oak Brook, Ill.-based marketer also forecast selling, general and administrative expenses for the year to rise 5% to 6% higher than in 2002.

Marketing expenses
Marketing expenses were up 4% for the quarter and 8% for the nine months on higher costs from the new global "I'm lovin' it" campaign and performance incentives, along with $11 million additional costs, mostly for U.S. marketing during the second quarter.

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