Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Restaurants: 21st Consecutive Month of Traffic Declines

by Bill McBride on 6/30/2009 11:00:00 AM

Note: Any reading below 100 shows contraction.

From the National Restaurant Association (NRA): Restaurant Industry Outlook Softened in May as Restaurant Performance Index Posted First Decline in Five Months

The outlook for the restaurant industry was dampened somewhat in May, as the National Restaurant Association’s comprehensive index of restaurant activity registered its first decline in five months. The Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) – a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 98.3 in May, down 0.3 percent from April and its 19th consecutive month below 100.

“With the performance of the current situation indicators holding relatively steady in May, the RPI’s decline was the result of restaurant operators’ dampened outlook for each of the four forward-looking indicators,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of Research and Information Services for the Association. “Although restaurant operators remain relatively optimistic that economic conditions will improve in six months, their outlook for sales growth and capital spending activity softened somewhat.”
...
Restaurant operators also reported negative customer traffic levels in May, marking the 21st consecutive month of traffic declines.
...
Capital spending activity remained relatively steady, despite the continued soft sales and traffic levels. Forty-one percent of operators said they made a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling during the last three months, down from 43 percent who reported similarly last month.
emphasis added
Restaurant Performance Index Click on graph for larger image in new window.

Unfortunately the data for this index only goes back to 2002.

This is another example of still contracting, but contracting at a slower pace than earlier this year.

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