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McDonald's Does It Again: July Sales Rise

So far in this recession, which began in December 2007, McDonald's appears to be the biggest beneficiary.

The fast food giant continued its winning streak in July, reporting that same-store sales were up 4.3 percent worldwide compared with July 2008.

Interestingly, same-store sales were up only 2.6 percent in the United States, largely because of new products, such as the McCafe line.

The big growth came from Europe, which surged 7.2 percent, thanks largely to England and -- wait for it -- France.

Yes, France. Where a radical sheep farmer (we just love writing that) vandalized a McDonald's under construction in 1999 to protest globalization, a concept that today just seems so, well, 1999. He was sentenced to three months of prison for his bit of political theater.

But that was the past century. Today, McDonald's has conquered France, much like Henry V, who said, "I love France so well, I will not part with a village of it." Here's a fun Slate piece from earlier this summer that explains how McDonald's won over the French.

In Europe -- as in the U.S. in recession -- McDonald's is benefiting from the "trade-down" phenomenon, which means cash-strapped hungry consumers who want to eat out are doing so at McDonald's these days rather than Chili's or other more expensive casual dining restaurants. Wal-Mart and Dollar General stores have benefited from trade-down as well.

Sales at McDonald's locations in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa rose 2.1 percent in July, with the only pain coming from China, which is experiencing political unrest as well as a recession.

-- Frank Ahrens
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By Frank Ahrens  |  August 10, 2009; 2:53 PM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dollar General, McDonald's, Wal-Mart  
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