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Last Updated: Monday, 28 April, 2003, 15:03 GMT 16:03 UK
McDonald's is back in the black
McDonald's burger being eaten
Salads will be sold alongside burgers

McDonald's has returned to profit three months after going into the red for the first time in its 48-year history.

Its earnings were boosted by the weakness of the US dollar - which has fallen almost 25% against the euro over the past year - rather than by its own business strategy.

It made a profit of $327.4m (206m) in the first three months of the year - up 29% on the same period last year.

Without the help of currency fluctuations, sales would have been flat.

McDonald's is in the middle of a radical shake-up of its operations.

It is slowing down its break-neck store opening programme and moving towards healthier foods.

'Not satisfied'

Despite returning to profitability after a December quarter loss of $344m (222m), the company warned that a full recovery from its malaise would take time.

"I am certainly not satisfied with our results this quarter," said chairman and chief executive Jim Cantalupo, who came back from retirement to run the company after its previous leader was forced out.

Evidence of the task ahead came earlier this month with news that same-store sales - sales at outlets open for more than a year - were down for the 13th consecutive month.

Weakness in Europe and Asia, which had been key growth markets, was at the root of the falls, the company said.

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