McDonald’s plans to roll out Chicken McBites in the United States, which will serve as a complement to the chain’s popular Chicken McNuggets, said James Skinner, CEO of McDonald’s, during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call with analysts.  Chicken McBites were previously served internationally.

McDonald’s experienced strong sales gains in 2011, and company officials announced during the call that the brand will use new products and store enhancements to build on that growth in 2012.  The company’s comparable sales were up 5.6 percent in 2011 over 2010, with positive comparable sales across all geographical segments for every quarter.  Fourth-quarter results were even stronger, as global comparable sales were up 7.5 percent and U.S. comparable sales were up 7.1 percent.

“In 2012, we will leverage our success with line extensions and new flavors, as well as promotional food events to build sales,” Skinner told investors.  Store re-imaging efforts will also be important to McDonald’s growth in 2012, officials said.  The company previously anticipated completing more than 600 store revamps in the United States in 2011.  However, more than 900 were re-imaged last year, exceeding company predictions.  In 2012, the company expects to see 2,175 stores updated, with 800 of those stores in the United States.  The company also announced plans to open more than 1,300 restaurants in 2012, with 175 of those located in the United States and between 225-250 units in China.