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McDonald's credit downturn for uplift

Fast food giant McDonald's said it saw its busiest weekend on record in the UK last month as cost-conscious families searched for cheap deals.

The US-headquartered group notched up its 20th consecutive quarter of growth in the UK in the three months ending March as it served 25 million more customers than the same period last year.

McDonald's said the last weekend of March was its best yet in the UK, with 12 million customers dining under the famous golden arches.

News of the record UK performance came as the wider group reported an 11% rise in net income to 1.2 billion US dollars (£724 million) in the quarter.

The company said the UK business benefited from growth across the whole menu - from the Saver menu options to the classic Big Mac - while coffee sales continued to perform well at more than 250,000 cups a day.

Jill McDonald, chief executive of McDonald's UK, said: "Recent sales figures from the high street tell us what we already know - that 2011 is going to be another tough year for everyone.

"Families in particular are likely to be feeling the squeeze more than ever, so it is important that we continue to understand the reality of what they're facing today and what they want from us as a result.

"This means maintaining our relentless focus on delivering great food, in modern restaurants, served by friendly and efficient staff at affordable prices."

McDonald's said global revenue increased 9% to 6.1 billion US dollars (£3.7 billion).

The company saw sales in Europe increase 5.7%, ahead of the global increase of 4.2%.

But the company warned that it expects prices for most of its ingredients to increase 4% to 4.5% in the US and Europe this year.