McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) reported first-quarter earnings today that came well short of consensus estimates, though profits rose year over year even as the results fell short of expectations on the top line.

McDonald's recorded total revenues of $6.6 billion in the quarter that ended March 31, a less than 1% increase over last year's $6.5 billion, but that was well below Wall Street's estimates of $7.2 billion. On the bottom line, the fast-food chain generated $1.27 billion, or $1.26 per share, up 2.4% from the year-ago figure and well below the $1.44-per-share estimate.

McDonald's President and Chief Executive Officer Don Thompson was quoted as saying, "McDonald's remains diligently focused on enhancing our menu, restaurants and the overall customer experience to become more relevant to today's consumers. While the Company's results for the quarter reflected difficult prior year comparisons and the ongoing impact of global economic headwinds, we continue our efforts to build market share and deliver sustained profitable growth for all stakeholders."

Quarterly same-restaurant sales fell 1.2% in the U.S. resulting in operating profits dropping 3%, though McDonald's maintains it increased market share in the period. Sales were also down in Europe where comps fell 1.1%, though they rose 1% after removing currency exchange fluctuations. The Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region registered a 3.3% decline in same-store sales.

Comparable sales represent sales at all restaurants  in operation at least 13 months, including those temporarily closed, whether they're owned by McDonald's or franchisees.

McDonald's expects April comps to be slightly negative compared to the year-ago period and says it will update the month's sales information on May 8.

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