McDonalds feels recession bite

CHICAGO - McDonald's Corp said sales at established US restaurants fell for the second straight month as competitors such as Burger King and Taco Bell pushed low prices to attract customers.

CHICAGO - McDonald's Corp said sales at established US restaurants fell for the second straight month as competitors such as Burger King and Taco Bell pushed low prices to attract customers.

Weakness in countries like Germany and China also pressured sales and shares of the world's largest hamburger chain fell 2,3percent.

Sales at US restaurants open at least 13 months fell 0,6percent, the latest sign that the fast-food sector that had performed well through most of the recession is weakening.

T elsey Advisory Group analyst Tom Forte said high unemployment among 18- to 34-year-olds is weighing on the fast-food industry that McDonald's dominates.

Rising unemployment has seen sales fall, particularly at breakfast - where McDonald's leads the sector.

McDonald's has been outperforming other chains in the US by offering a variety of items on its popular Dollar Menu.

But its rivals are stepping up competition with a broad range of inexpensive fare for less than $1.

Chief executive Jim Skinner said yester day that McDonald' s remained "focused on growing market share with a disciplined pricing strategy."

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