McDonalds Corp, in contrast with struggling competitors and the overall retail market, plans to expand greatly in 2009 in Europe, a senior executive said on Friday.

Many restaurant and retail chains struggled in 2008, closing stores amidst the global economic downturn.

The fast food chain aims to remodel restaurants and open 240 new units across Europe totaling about 12,000 new jobs mostly in Spain, France, Italy, Russia and Poland, McDonald's Europe president Denis Hennequin, according to the Financial Times and Forbes.

The expansion will cost McDonald's an investment of $1.1 billion, almost half of its total capital allocated for the full year, Forbes notes.

The company performed well in 2008, seeing its share price go up by 7 percent. It was one of few companies which belong to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, to go up, the FT says. The increase has come mostly due to its low cost menus.

Analysts forecast McDonalds' will report on Monday that profit rose 10 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, according to FT.