McDonald’s UK has reported a 38% rise in pre-tax profit to £157.211m for the year to 31 December 2010, as it said it continued to “deliver sound results in a difficult trading climate”. The c.1,200-strong chain saw a 5% rise in turnover during the year to £1.184bn, as it experienced strong sales growth “across all store types”. Operating profit stood at £157.218m, up from £126.937m in 2009, which the chain said was due to higher sales and margins within its company-owned restaurants and positive sales growth from franchisee restaurants. In accounts filed at Companies House, the group said that its ongoing franchise strategy “is also driving improved profitability, which is in line with directors’ expectations and objectives”. The chain said that during the year the economic downturn “continued to result in the reduction of consumer confidence”. It said: “This has impacted the income achieved by the company within specific geographical areas, however, the business as a whole has not been adversely affected.” In January, the company said that 2010 was a record year, with 80m more customers served in the 12 months compared to the previous year, which it put down to longer trading hours, a wider range of hot drinks and so called “premium” dishes. During the first three months of 2011, the fast food chain served 25m more customers than in the same period last year. McDonald’s said it saw its busiest weekend on record in the UK over the last weekend in March this year, with 12 million customers dining in its stores. Speaking earlier this year, Jill McDonald, chief executive of McDonald’s UK, said she expected 2011 to be a “tough year”, with rising inflation putting household finances under further strain.