Britons defy the downturn to eat out – at McDonald's

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The Independent Online

The fast-food giant McDonald's delivered soaring sales in the UK after a "flight to value" sent customers flocking into its stores to eat Big Macs.

It is thought that McDonald's UK grew underlying sales by about 12 per cent in the three months to 30 September and that profits were broadly in line with this uplift, but the company declined to provide figures.

Details of its buoyant performance in Britain came as its parent company posted a better-than-expected 6 per cent rise in profits to $1.26bn. Its UK performance far outstripped the underlying global sales at McDonald's, which grew by 3.8 per cent.

Steve Easterbrook, the chief executive of McDonald's UK, said: "What is particularly encouraging about the sales growth is that it is being driven by serving more customers and growth across the menu board. Some of it is around the flight to value. People still want to eat out, but they are more discerning about what they spend when they have less money in their pocket."

McDonald's UK served 8 per cent more customers in the quarter, and its Big Mac meals and breakfast menu were star performers. It was McDonald's 14th consecutive quarter of growth.

In the UK, 80 per cent of McDonald's restaurants are now open from 6am, and more than 300 are open 24 hours.