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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 October, 2004, 23:30 GMT 00:30 UK
McDonald's profits from new menu
Man ordering in McDonald's
Surging US sales helped lift McDonald's
Strong US sales helped McDonald's to supersize its profits in the three months to September.

McDonald's said preliminary earnings per share surged 42% to 61 cents - against analyst forecasts of 49 cents.

Same restaurant sales were up 10.6% in September, and 8.5% on the quarter, offsetting weak sales in Europe, which rose just 0.3% during the three months.

McDonald's has been reaping the benefits of a new, healthier menu - which now includes salads.

Experts said its decision to switch focus back to its traditional namesake restaurants after dabbling in other foods had also paid off.

"The company is focusing on its strengths, which is the McDonald's format. Not pizza, not Mexican food, not other things," Crowell, Weedon analyst Doug Christopher said.

The fast food giant said a lower tax rate and other items had also added 7 cents a share to its earnings.

The news saw the group top the Dow's gainers - closing 4.8%, or $1.31, higher at $28.86

Arches dropped

However, in an effort to tackle falling UK sales the group has announced it will be ditching its famous Golden Arches logo for a short time from Friday.

"This is certainly the first campaign of this kind in the UK," the company's UK HQ said in a statement.

The two-week campaign, called Change, will contain the line: "McDonald's. But not as you know it", with a yellow question mark replacing the famous M arches.

Sales at McDonald's UK outlets plunged dramatically last year as concerns mounted over the country's obesity problems.

The adverts will feature close-ups of McDonald's new healthy options such as salads and fruit.

It follows the group's recent announcement that it was reducing the size of food portions at its restaurants.

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