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OAKVILLE, Ontario (


) -- Coffee-and-donut chain

Tim Hortons


posted better-than-expected earnings Thursday morning, thanks to strong same-store sales growth in its Canadian stores.

Tim Hortons shares jumped 3.4% in early-morning trading.

Tim Hortons attributed its 21% jump in second-quarter earnings to stronger same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least one year, in its Canadian locations. System-side comps grew 9.2%. The figure included a 6.4% jump in Canada, compared with an increase of 1.7% in the year-earlier quarter. Same-store sales at its U.S. locations grew 3.1%, down from a 3.3% rise in the second quarter of 2009.

Fast food behemoth


(MCD) - Get Free Report

, which competes with Tim Hortons for market share in the coffee-drinks space, said earlier this week its comps surged 7% in July, fueled in large part by its beverage business. It was the burger-and-fries chain's biggest monthly increase by that measure since April of 2009.

>>McDonald's Heats Up on Cold Drinks

The Golden Arches said last month that each region of the world in which it operates generated higher comps, traffic and profits in the quarter ended June 30. McDonald's posted

double-digit profit gains

for the period.

Overall global quarterly comps growth of 4.8% in the quarter, helped by its dollar menu and an expanded list of coffee drinks and other beverages, came up short of expectations, however, and McDonald's stock fell more than 2%, closing below $70 per share the day it released the quarterly results.

>>McDonald's Falters on Comps

McDonald's shares rebounded since then, hitting an all-time high of $73.33 in trading Monday. The stock traded at $71.85 Thursday morning.

Oakville, Ontario-based Tim Hortons, founded by famed Toronto Maple Leafs hockey player Tim Horton, earned $94.1 million, or 54 cents per share, in the recent quarter, up from profits of $77.8 million, or 43 cents per share, in the year-earlier period. Revenue grew 5.7% to $639.9 million.

Tim Hortons also said it sold its 50% interest in Maidstone Bakeries to Swiss partner

Aryzta AG

for $457.8 million. The company said funds from the sale would likely go toward returning value to shareholders.

Elswhere in the restaurant sector, Chili's operator

Brinker International

(EAT) - Get Free Report

missed top- and bottom-line quarterly expectations but forecast 2011 earnings in line with analysts' consensus call.

Wendy's Arby's Group

(WEN) - Get Free Report

missed expectations and lowered its 2010 outlook



( CHUX), which operates its namesake and Ninety Nine fast-casual restaurants, posted disappointing quarterly results as well.

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers

(RRGB) - Get Free Report

is on deck to report after the closing bell.

Tim Horton's Stock Rating Report (THI) Rating and Financial Analysis

-- Reported by Miriam Marcus Reimer from New York.


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