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McDonald's European Sales Continue To Decline <b></b>

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Oak Brook, IL-Fast-food chain McDonald's Corp. saidrecently it's seeing annual earnings per share growth of 10 to11 percent amid a slowdown in European sales. The company alsoreported that systemwide sales for November were $3.2 billion, up 4percent from the same period last year.

McDonald's sales in Europe fell 11 percent in November to$670.6 million, compared with $753.8 million in November 1999."Sales in certain European countries were tempered by thedecline in consumer confidence regarding the safety of the Europeanbeef supply," McDonald CEO Jack Greenberg said in astatement.

Concern over Europe's beef supply was sparked last monthwhen cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy ("mad cow"disease) were first spotted in Germany, France, Spain and othercountries. The outbreak has sparked quality control actions by theEuropean Union and concern among consumers who are looking to eatmore nonbeef products.

"These safety concerns have nothing to do withMcDonald's because of our product specifications,"Greenberg said.

The dip in European sales caused the company to come in at thelower end of a 10 to 15 percent earnings-per-share forecast madeearlier. -Reuters

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