) --


(MCD) - Get McDonald's Corporation (MCD) Report

may have grown its global sales in August, and it continues to outpace fast-food competitors like


(WEN) - Get Wendy's Company Report


Burger King


Yum! Brands

(YUM) - Get Yum! Brands, Inc. (YUM) Report

, but its shares took a hit Friday as results came up short of expectations.


3.5% growth in global same-store sales last month

, McDonald's results were tempered by Hurricane Irene, lasting impacts from the March earthquake in Japan and a late-summer lull in new product offerings.

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Same-store sales -- or sales at stores open at least one year -- are a closely watched metric in the restaurant industry. In the U.S., the key figure rose 3.9%, but analysts had expected domestic growth of 4.5%. Global growth of 3.5% missed analysts' calls for 5%.

That led investors to bid McDonald's shares 4.1% lower to $85.02 in morning trading on Friday. Volume was heavy as well, with more than 6.6 million shares changing hands less than two hours into the trading session, compared with their average daily volume of 8.1 million.

Still, domestic growth was attributed to sales of McDonald's McCafe beverages like smoothies, its breakfast line-up and new premium chicken sandwiches.

But Morningstar analyst R.J. Hottovy said "new product launches were really weighted toward the front half of the summer." Even so, McDonald's is "still comping positive while a lot of their competitors are still squarely in negative territory."

McDonald's has been able to attract a broader customer base, while the demographics of many of its rivals consist mainly of young adult males.

Hurricane Irene, which paralyzed much of the East Coast for several days in August, may have been accountable for around half a percentage point reduction in domestic same-store sales for the month, according to some estimates.

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In McDonald's Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region, where sales declined 0.3% in the month, results were pressured by ongoing political and civil unrest in a number of countries, as well as the Japan market which has yet to recover. McDonald's Japan said early Friday that same-store sales fell 8.2% in the country last month.


Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.

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