OAK BROOK, IL-McDonald’s global same-store sales rose 6.3% year over year during its first quarter, with the use portion of its units rising at a 4.4% clip. The fast-food giant was bolstered by a strong March when same-store sales around the globe hopped up 8.2%.

The company’s first-quarter results match last year’s fourth quarter, when same-store sales also rose 6.3%. In March, McDonald’s was led by an 11.2% increase in Europe; followed by a 9.6% boost in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa division; and a 6.2% rise in the US.

In Europe, premium products and value-item menus were popular with consumers, executives say, while the strongest-performing countries were France, Germany, the UK and Russia. They cited the Snack Wrap, a new menu item, in helping US sales.

Management predicts that first-quarter earnings per share will come in at 62 cents, up from 49 cents during the same year-ago period. It plans to release full results for the financial period on April 20.

McDonald’s operates about 30,000 restaurants in 100 countries. Executives plan to open about 800 new units around the world in the coming year, 200 of them domestically.

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