Friday, October 30, 2015

Restaurant Performance Index indicates slower expansion in September

by Bill McBride on 10/30/2015 03:41:00 PM

Here is a minor indicator I follow from the National Restaurant Association: Restaurant Performance Index: Operators’ Sales Outlook at Two-Year Low

Although same-store sales and customer traffic remained positive in September, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) registered a modest decline. The RPI – a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 101.4 in September, down slightly from a level of 101.5 in August. Despite the decline, September represented the 31st consecutive month in which the RPI stood above 100, which signifies expansion in the index of key industry indicators.
...
“The RPI's current situation indicators continued to illustrate growth in September, as both same-store sales and customer traffic remained positive,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the Association. “However, restaurant operators are more cautious about business conditions in the months ahead, as the proportion expecting a sales increase fell to a two-year low.”
emphasis added
Restaurant Performance Index Click on graph for larger image.

The index decreased to 101.4 in September, down from 101.5 in August. (above 100 indicates expansion).

Restaurant spending is discretionary, so even though this is "D-list" data, I like to check it every month.  Even with this decline, the index is indicating expansion, and it appears restaurants are benefiting from lower gasoline prices.