Monday, November 30, 2009

Restaurant Index Shows Contraction in October

by Calculated Risk on 11/30/2009 01:20:00 PM

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

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

Note: Any reading below 100 shows contraction for this index. The index is a year-over-year index, so the headline index might be slow to recognize a pickup in business, but the underlying details suggests ongoing weakness.

From the National Restaurant Association (NRA): Restaurant Industry Outlook Improved Somewhat In October as Restaurant Performance Index Posted First Gain in Three Months

[T]he National Restaurant Association’s ... Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) ... stood at 98.0 in October, up 0.5 percent from its September level. However, the RPI still remained below 100 for the 24th 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 somewhat more optimistic about improving conditions in the months ahead,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the Association. “Restaurant operators reported a positive six-month economic outlook for the fourth consecutive month, and the proportion planning for capital expenditures rose five percentage points.”
The Current Situation Index, which measures current trends in four industry indicators (same-store sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures), stood at 96.5 in October – up 0.4 percent from September and its first improvement in three months. However, October still represented the 26th consecutive month below 100, which signifies contraction in the current situation indicators.

Restaurant operators reported negative same-store sales for the 17th consecutive month in October, with the overall results similar to the September performance. ...

Customer traffic also remained soft in October, with operators reporting net negative traffic for the 26th consecutive month. ...

Although sales and traffic levels remained soft, operators reported a modest uptick in capital spending activity.
emphasis added