Thursday, September 30, 2010

Restaurant Index shows contraction in August

by Bill McBride on 9/30/2010 03:31:00 PM

This is one of several industry specific indexes I track each month.

Restaurant Performance Index Click on graph for larger image in new window.

Same store sales and customer traffic both declined again in August (on a year-over-year basis). Unfortunately the data for this index only goes back to 2002.

Note: Any reading above 100 shows expansion for this index.

From the National Restaurant Association (NRA): Restaurant Industry Outlook Remained Cautious as Restaurant Performance Index Was Essentially Flat in August

As a result of continued soft sales and traffic levels, the National Restaurant Association’s comprehensive index of restaurant activity remained below 100 for the fourth consecutive month in August. 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 99.5 in August, essentially unchanged from the previous three months. In addition, the RPI stood below 100 for the fourth consecutive month, which signifies contraction in the index of key industry indicators.
...
Restaurant operators reported a net decline in same-store sales for the fifth consecutive month in August ... Restaurant operators also continued to report a net decline in customer traffic levels in August..
emphasis added
Restaurants are a discretionary expense, and this contraction could be because of the sluggish recovery or might suggest further weakness in consumer spending in the months ahead.