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McDonald's logo is seen on the window of one of its restaurants in New York in this January 24, 2011, file photo. 

Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

McDonald's Corp. reported a weaker-than-expected 3.7 per cent rise in August sales at established restaurants around the world on Tuesday, as austerity measures in Europe and global economic volatility weighed on results.

Analysts polled by Consensus Metrix were expecting a gain of 3.9 per cent at restaurants open at least 13 months for the world's largest hamburger chain.

Still, the results show a rebound from July, the company's worst month in more than nine years. McDonald's had flat same-restaurant sales around the world for that period, on slight declines in all three of its major regions.

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August same-restaurant sales were up 3 per cent in the United States and up 3.1 per cent in Europe. Analysts had expected a 3.1 per cent rise for the United States and a 3.3 per cent increase in Europe.

Europe is McDonald's No. 1 market for sales, just edging out the United States. Positive results in the UK, France and Russia offset weakness in Germany and certain Southern European markets, the company said on Tuesday.

McDonald's for years had been taking market share from smaller rivals like Burger King Worldwide Inc and Wendy's Co by rolling out new food ranging from lattes and oatmeal to fruit smoothies and salads.

But that streak seems to have come to an end as competitors match McDonald's on the menu front and step up marketing.

Same-restaurant sales from McDonald's Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region were up 5.7 per cent, while analysts had expected a 4 per cent gain. Strong results in Australia and China boosted the region's performance.

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