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Monday, August 31, 2009

Restaurants in July: 23rd Consecutive Month of Declining Traffic

by Calculated Risk on 8/31/2009 10:03:00 AM

Note: Any reading below 100 shows contraction for this index.

From the National Restaurant Association (NRA): Restaurant Industry Outlook Remained Uncertain In June as Restaurant Performance Index Declined for Second Consecutive Month

The outlook for the restaurant industry improved somewhat in July, as the National Restaurant Association’s comprehensive index of restaurant activity registered its first gain in three 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 98.1 in July, up 0.3 percent from its June level. However, the RPI still remained below 100 for the 21st consecutive month, which signifies contraction in the index of key industry indicators.

“Although restaurant operators continue to report soft same-store sales and customer traffic levels, they are more optimistic about improving conditions in the months ahead,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of Research and Information Services for the Association. “Restaurant operators reported a positive six-month economic outlook, and the proportion expecting higher sales rose to its highest level in three months.”
In addition to sales declines, restaurant operators reported negative customer traffic levels for the 23rd consecutive month in July.
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.

The restaurant business is still contracting, although not contracting as fast as late last year.

The cook must have put the green shoots in the soup.