Thursday, February 28, 2013

Restaurant Performance Index: Expansion in January

by Bill McBride on 2/28/2013 03:15:00 PM

From the National Restaurant Association: Restaurant Performance Index Hit Five-Month High in January as Operators’ Optimism Grew

Driven by a more optimistic outlook among restaurant operators, the National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) rose to its highest level in five months. The RPI – a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 100.6 in January, up 1.0 percent from December and its highest level since August 2012. In addition, January represented the first time in four months that the RPI rose above 100, which signifies expansion in the index of key industry indicators.

“Although the current situation indicators were mixed in January, restaurant operators were decidedly more optimistic about sales growth and the economy in the months ahead,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the Association. “Operators’ outlook for same-store sales, capital spending and the overall economy all improved, which propelled the Expectations Index to its highest level in eight months.”
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The Current Situation Index, which measures current trends in four industry indicators (same-store sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures), stood at 99.7 in January – up 0.6 percent from December’s level. Although restaurant operators reported net positive same-store sales results in January, softness in the customer traffic and labor indicators outweighed the performance, which resulted in a Current Situation Index reading below 100 for the fifth consecutive month.
Restaurant Performance Index Click on graph for larger image.

The index increased to 100.6 in January, up from 99.7 in December (above 100 indicates expansion).

Restaurant spending is discretionary, so even though this is "D-list" data, I like to check it every month.

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